Many grants have what are known as milestones: dates by which certain activities are supposed to occur; with some grants, failure to meet these milestones (or does one pass milestones?) can ultimately result in withdrawal of the grant. There is a lot of grantsmanship involved in milestones. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to set lots of impossible-to-reach milestones. Likewise, you want some low hanging fruit in there too (to confuse images and metaphors).
For example, let’s say a Mad Biologist were to sequence a bunch of bacterial genomes. Here are three milestones:
1) Get all of the paperwork done (e.g., IRB approval).
2) Isolate the DNA.
3) Sequence the fucking genomes.
Even though all of these milestones need to happen, one of these milestones is not like the others. One is, in fact, the whole point of the exercise (hint: It’s the one with the word fucking).
This brings me to the Democrats, aka the Most Hapless Political Party in Recorded Human History. There’s been a lot of talk about how the Obama Administration has been successful in passing legislation. But a lot of that legislation, well, isn’t very impressive. Consider the recently passed CARD act, and championed by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (who is a pretty decent representative):
No longer will card issuers be permitted to raise rates almost at will on purchases you’ve already made–only on new charges going forward.
Other changes in terms and conditions similarly require 45 days’ advance notice, and if you do not wish to accept those changes, you may opt to close the account and pay off the balance under the old interest rate–a fact that must clearly be stated in the 45-day notice. That 45-day period gives you nearly two billing cycles to do more than complain–to shop around for a card whose rate and terms of service you prefer.
What’s more, the CARD Act also prohibits other enraging tricks that some issuers have used for years to boost their bottom line and push consumers deeper into debt, including:
•Penalty rate increases for those less than 60 days overdue on their payments are banned.
•Over-limit fees are allowed only if companies obtain an affirmative opt-in in advance from the customer–and must be reasonable and proportional to the cost.
•Prohibits charging interest on debts paid on-time (Double-cycle billing).
•Bans due-date gimmicks such as setting morning times for payment, before mail is delivered or charging fees for paying a bill by phone or internet.
•Requires promotional rates to last at least six months.
Are you really seeking credit because you finally managed to outlaw egregious usury that should have never been allowed to happen at all? What next, a bill condemning puppy molestation? Or how about a panel to investigate steroid abuse in baseball?
Erm, moving right along…
This is like rewarding your ten year-old with an allowance because he no longer runs into your bedroom at 4am, shrieks like a banshee, and takes a crap in your bed. Not doing that should be assumed.
The only thing you deserve is an “it’s about goddamn time.” And while this is good, what about, I dunno, a healthcare plan that doesn’t suck? That’s what people are paying attention to, that’s what people really need. That is a very critical piece of legislation.
This might be unfair: so many things have been broken over the last two decades (no, Clinton doesn’t get a free ride), and they all do need fixing. But crowing over finally dealing with the obvious only earns you the following response: “I’m the guy who did his job. You must be that other fucking guy.”