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Thread: Congressional Hearings - A Question?

  1. #1
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    Congressional Hearings - A Question?

    In light of the furor over the Auto Company Execs flying to DC in Private Planes to appear at their Bailout Hearings, and the subsequent praise for them driving in Hybrid Vehicles the second time, a question arose in my head....

    ....why does Congress need people to show up in person at all in today's day and age?

    If Global Warming is the core issue (and it is, don't doubt that for a second), why does Congress not take the bold step of creating a Congressional IT Unit, who can liase with the people who need to testify before Congress, and enable them to do so via any of today's modern IT Technology means?

    I mean really, do the auto CEO's need to be there in person? Lord knows the car companies all have broad IT Dept's who could set up remote meeting tech for their CEO's to testify/beg from home turf, and never use a drop of any fuel outside the electrical costs.

    So, what is the rationale for maintaining the anachronistci and outdated "be there in person" idea of Congressional hearings, in a wolrd so in danger of Global Warming Climate Change?

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2893296]In light of the furor over the Auto Company Execs flying to DC in Private Planes to appear at their Bailout Hearings, and the subsequent praise for them driving in Hybrid Vehicles the second time, a question arose in my head....

    ....why does Congress need people to show up in person at all in today's day and age?

    If Global Warming is the core issue (and it is, don't doubt that for a second), why does Congress not take the bold step of creating a Congressional IT Unit, who can liase with the people who need to testify before Congress, and enable them to do so via any of today's modern IT Technology means?

    I mean really, do the auto CEO's need to be there in person? Lord knows the car companies all have broad IT Dept's who could set up remote meeting tech for their CEO's to testify/beg from home turf, and never use a drop of any fuel outside the electrical costs.

    So, what is the rationale for maintaining the anachronistci and outdated "be there in person" idea of Congressional hearings, in a wolrd so in danger of Global Warming Climate Change?[/QUOTE]

    House/Senate rules probably require a quorum for a meeting -- this is true in most legislature. I would be against telecommuting in most cases -- its hard to really do business as a legislature through a TV screen. No sense of comity or human relationships. For some things and emergency business it would be OK though.

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    Don't underestimate the public theater, circus sideshow and absolute media spectacle these things become....Congress loves that, it gets them on TV, especially a guy like Shumer who never met a TV camera he didn't like!

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    [QUOTE=fukushimajin;2893303]House/Senate rules probably require a quorum for a meeting -- this is true in most legislature. I would be against telecommuting in most cases -- its hard to really do business as a legislature through a TV screen. No sense of comity or human relationships. For some things and emergency business it would be OK though.[/QUOTE]

    I don't mean the Congressmen not attending in person, although that should be explored as well.

    I mean the people testifying before Congress.

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    [QUOTE=jetstream23;2893306]Don't underestimate the public theater, circus sideshow and absolute media spectacle these things become....Congress loves that, it gets them on TV, especially a guy like Shumer who never met a TV camera he didn't like![/QUOTE]

    Well, saving our planet will require sacrifices from all of us. Perhaps Congress should remember that when it comes to these things, and many other things, they do.

    Perhaps they should all be mandated by Congressional Rule to lead by example, and cut their own personal and staff energy use to that of the bottom ten % average of American users.

    That would serve notice that our leaders feel as strongly about deeds regarding the danger of Global Climate Change, as they words often make it seem.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2893309]I don't mean the Congressmen not attending in person, although that should be explored as well.

    I mean the people testifying before Congress.[/QUOTE]

    I guess its kind of like court -- the surroundings set the tone. Also, in some cases these folks are put under oath. However, the vast majority of testimony given to legislative committees is given in writing in advance. Only the final phase requires s a few people with the key info to appear in person to answer questions.

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    Congressional hearings tend to be dog and pony shows designed more to show up the people being questioned than to answer questions for congressmen unsure about an issue.

    There is probably some benefit to making people show up to be accountable to taxpayers or whatever, but most of these hearings are pretty useless.

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    You're asking the government to be reasonable and efficient. Good luck with that.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2893296]If Global Warming is the core issue (and it is, don't doubt that for a second), why does Congress not take the bold step of creating a Congressional IT Unit, who can liase with the people who need to testify before Congress, and enable them to do so via any of today's modern IT Technology means?[/QUOTE]

    I agree with your overall point, but Global Warming is not the issue at all in this case. The hearings with the Auto Executives and the criticism of their use of private jets are completely based on financial reasons. I don't see how Global Warming plays any part in this situation other than you trying to criticize a green movement every chance you get.

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    b/c you can't see the sweat on TV

    if you ask a guy a tough question you want to see him squirm

    it's like playing poker online- everyone has tells

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    [QUOTE=bitonti;2893447]b/c you can't see the sweat on TV

    if you ask a guy a tough question you want to see him squirm

    it's like playing poker online- everyone has tells[/QUOTE]

    you could still film both

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    [QUOTE=parafly;2893442]I agree with your overall point, but Global Warming is not the issue at all in this case. The hearings with the Auto Executives and the criticism of their use of private jets are completely based on financial reasons. I don't see how Global Warming plays any part in this situation other than you trying to criticize a green movement every chance you get.[/QUOTE]

    Really?

    Thats odd, I've heard (here and elsewhere) that the entire problem with the Auto Industry today is their lack of focus on Green Technology, i.e. they're not giving the people of America the environmentally Friendly Cars they desperately wish to buy.

    Is that true, or not?

    If it's just financial, not green, then why did the auto CEO's drive in green vehicles, rather than just fly First Class? Clearly it takes a lot longer to drive than to fly public airlines....and these are busy busy men, so why the time waste if Green isn't an issue?

    If it's financial, is Congress sending a message that leaders in a down economy of a in-debt company should simply not fly private?

    That would be odd too, as the Govt. is horribly deep in debt, yet Congressmen fly private all the time. Hmmmm, thats really odd.

    In any event para, questioning my motivation for raising the issue doesn;t save our Planet from Climate Change, it just distracts from the important issue at hand, how to save our Planet. So my question stands, will our Congreepeople lead by example, and mandate that they and their staff use power in the lower percentile of Americans, stop flying private, and truly lead in this vital cause?

    I can only assume para, based on previous statements, that you would support such moves, right?

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    Technically there's so much office space doesn't even need to be in use in this country. I'm willing to bet that at least 1 out of every 2 corporate office jobs doesn't need that worker to be in the office for them to fulfill their responsibilities. Simply due to the fact that with just a little bit of restructuring, they could do most of their work from home.

    It's quite perplexing as to why so many private companies don't do this (aside from the simple notion of monitoring everyone). In turn they'd make lives for their employees much easier and avoid substantial cost (especially in larger cities, where rents are astronomical). I think we're beginning to see some sort of efforts made in this regard, but the proposal that Fish is putting on the table actually makes sense, and I agree with it simply for the fact that under this administration, it looks like the public sector is going to have to lead the way for the private sector in terms of overhauling their processes in favor of environmentally friendly policies. To tell you the truth, it makes a lot of sense on all ends of the spectrum, and the only people who wouldn't benefit would be the real estate, power, and oil companies, of which I have no problem with.

    Bottom line is that encouraging such an overhaul would certainly stimulate the field of energy technology simply due to the demand. Lord knows I'm certainly in favor of more advancements in telecommunications.

    It's definitely an interesting topic and food for thought...good thread.
    Last edited by RutgersJetFan; 12-04-2008 at 01:29 PM.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2893478]
    If it's just financial, not green, then why did the auto CEO's drive in green vehicles, rather than just fly First Class? Clearly it takes a lot longer to drive than to fly public airlines....and these are busy busy men, so why the time waste if Green isn't an issue?

    [/QUOTE]


    Ok not to hijack your and para's little snit, but the whole "see we're driving to Washington now, aren't we great?" is just beyond a joke to me. Seriously, these suits don't give the public an ounce of credit for having brains. And quite honestly, I don't think any of them want to suffer the indignity of flying with the masses, so they pull their ridiculous "green" stunt. Sickening.

    Okay back to the infighting :)

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=RutgersJetFan;2893509]Technically there's so much office space doesn't even need to be in use in this country. I'm willing to bet that at least 1 out of every 2 corporate office jobs doesn't need that worker to be in the office for them to fulfill their responsibilities. Simply due to the fact that with just a little bit of restructuring, they could do most of their work from home.

    It's quite perplexing as to why so many private companies don't do this (aside from the simple notion of monitoring everyone). In turn they'd make lives for their employees much easier and avoid substantial cost (especially in larger cities, where rents are astronomical). I think we're beginning to see some sort of efforts made in this regard, but the proposal that Fish is putting on the table actually makes sense, and I agree with it simply for the fact that under this administration, it looks like the public sector is going to have to lead the way for the private sector in terms of overhauling their processes in favor of environmentally friendly policies. To tell you the truth, it makes a lot of sense on all ends of the spectrum, and the only people who wouldn't benefit would be the real estate, power, and oil companies, of which I have no problem with.

    Bottom line is that encouraging such an overhaul would certainly stimulate the field of energy technology simply due to the demand. Lord knows I'm certainly in favor of more advancements in telecommunications.

    It's definitely an interesting topic and food for thought...good thread.[/QUOTE]

    Hmm, I actually think the private companies will lead the way. The best companies will find efficient ways to cut costs and I've always felt as well that we don't need most employees in an office 5 days a week. There's lots of stuff I can do from GoToMyPC or another remote access service.

    Of course, management needs to be on top of the production at home, but if you hire one person who's job was to e-monitor progress and productivity and could downsize your office space by 1/3, I'm sure you come out ahead. Plus, there's a morale bonus for people who don't feel like they are grinding it out 5 days a week. Also, people with long commutes will really appreciate it and be less likely to change jobs for a closer location.

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    [QUOTE=BrooklynBound;2893597]people with long commutes will really appreciate it and be less likely to change jobs for a closer location.[/QUOTE]

    QFT, and so will our Planet!

    Think, I drive 1.5 hours in the AM, and then again in the PM, to egt to/from work.

    There is very little I need in my office that I couldn't get with minimal one-time cost at home.

    Over 1 year (~230 work Days, give or take) working from home could save ~690 Vehicle Use (Commuting) Hours, and 9,200 Miles Driven. Just for me.

    The first company who finds a way to broadly exploit this and maintain productivity will save a ton of money, have a happy workforce, and will help to cut a chunk out of domestic driving/oil use.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2893622]QFT, and so will our Planet!

    Think, I drive 1.5 hours in the AM, and then again in the PM, to egt to/from work.

    There is very little I need in my office that I couldn't get with minimal one-time cost at home.

    Over 1 year (~230 work Days, give or take) working from home could save ~690 Vehicle Use (Commuting) Hours, and 9,200 Miles Driven. Just for me.

    The first company who finds a way to broadly exploit this and maintain productivity will save a ton of money, have a happy workforce, and will help to cut a chunk out of domestic driving/oil use.[/QUOTE]

    What many companies have also tried out (mine included) is a 4-day work week composed of 10-hour days.

    I also know of more than one company that are in the process of implementing policies that encourage their employees to buy environmentally safe appliances for their home. The thinking being that they'll make up the difference in cost since "green" dishwashers, dryers...etc, cost more than your regular ones.

    Monitoring employees from home isn't really that hard. My buddy's girlfriend works from home and their company has a pretty neat policy of keeping track of everyone through Gmail and Gchat.

    As I said, there's certainly efforts being made, however I think stronger strategies that promote actually getting there rather than inching slowly towards green industry are very necessary.

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    [QUOTE=RutgersJetFan;2893509]Technically there's so much office space doesn't even need to be in use in this country. I'm willing to bet that at least 1 out of every 2 corporate office jobs doesn't need that worker to be in the office for them to fulfill their responsibilities. Simply due to the fact that with just a little bit of restructuring, they could do most of their work from home.

    It's quite perplexing as to why so many private companies don't do this (aside from the simple notion of monitoring everyone). In turn they'd make lives for their employees much easier and avoid substantial cost (especially in larger cities, where rents are astronomical). I think we're beginning to see some sort of efforts made in this regard, but the proposal that Fish is putting on the table actually makes sense, and I agree with it simply for the fact that under this administration, it looks like the public sector is going to have to lead the way for the private sector in terms of overhauling their processes in favor of environmentally friendly policies. To tell you the truth, it makes a lot of sense on all ends of the spectrum, and the only people who wouldn't benefit would be the real estate, power, and oil companies, of which I have no problem with.

    Bottom line is that encouraging such an overhaul would certainly stimulate the field of energy technology simply due to the demand. Lord knows I'm certainly in favor of more advancements in telecommunications.

    It's definitely an interesting topic and food for thought...good thread.[/QUOTE]

    ROWE is gaining steam..

    I've been working from home for almost 2 years now, it's great and was like a 10k raise

  19. #19
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    American auto-manufacters deficiency in "Green" cars is only a small, small percentage of the reason they are failing.

    Other more important ones include:
    1) poorly negotiated union contracts
    2) poor quality of [I]all[/I] their cars
    3) self-diluted markets, rather than scaled-down, focused and specialized models. i.e. why build 4 of the same model and market them all under different names (not just model names, but brand names too)?

    All of these would fall under the main category of "poor management"

    But the biggest is:
    COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE to foreign manufacturers as a direct result of our ridiculous tax system.

    [SIZE="1"](which by the way, the FairTax would swing the opposite and put that advantage on the side of American businesses)[/SIZE]

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    very good point - i'm sure there are a lot of reasons why they don't do this, but no good ones.

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