The federal government web site has little to report, and is heavy in doublespeak and links to worthless pages. Traversing it is like being lost in the Boundary Waters with no road map and an exhausted supply of marshmallow markers. The Michigan economic recovery site is not much better. Here one may find the occasional press releases about $400K to the arts or $900K for a university grant. This is pocket change, my friends. I have nothing against the arts, being a staunch promoter, buying up symphony seats and donating moola to my nearby art center. But one thing is clear: so far, little money has been released, and most of it has brought a total of ZERO, count ‘em, ZERO jobs.
Summer is almost over (it’s a painfully short season here in the tundra) and those “shovel ready” jobs are going to hit permafrost by the time the check hits Lansing.
Yesterday came word that the Federal government would like to spend $18 million more dollars on the recovery web site. Oh, joy. Smartronix wins the stimulus lottery this week, and this tidy sum should keep them in business through 2014. True, the place could use a mother’s touch, or at least the touch of a couple of bored middle school computer geeks with time to spare.
The first thing Smartronix should do is clean the turtle bowl so that we can see inside. Isn't that what "transparency" is all about? I want dollar amounts, when the checks were cut and where they are going. A spreadsheet can be made with Excel. Even a computer moron like me can do simple formulas.
Why does anyone have to spend $18 million dollars on a web site when I can imagine legions of people are waiting in the wings to do it for free? (Most of those people are unemployed.) Seeing that “community activism” is the next big thing, I’m sure there are people who would give up their Saturdays with the kids to bring the halo of transparency to the rest of us.
Or maybe not.
Me? I’m not retired, with time to waste to hunt for the stimulus money, although I wish I were and wish I could.
Perhaps the only way to bag the elusive stimulus is with an elephant gun.