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Matthew Fleharty

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Posts posted by Matthew Fleharty

  1. 3 hours ago, Junius said:

    I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on that.  When I was getting my MBA ten years ago, the thought process was that the primary responsibility of a business is shareholder return.  Has that always been the case?

    I'm currently reading "The Golden Passport"  by Duff McDonald which is a full fledged critique of Harvard Business School (HBS) and some of the thoughts that have come out of there, like the notion that shareholder value reigns supreme (I'm a regular reader of HBR so I'm trying to learn where my "blind spots" might be).  It's a lengthy read, but a worthy one which argues fervently against commonly accepted material that permeates MBA programs (including yours apparently) since HBS is a "thought" leader when it comes to business schools.  If you get your hands on it but don't want to read through all 600+ pages, Chapter 42 "The Murder of Managerialism" focuses on Michael Jensen [one of, if not the most prominent promoters of the premise] and shareholder value.  Here's an excerpt:


    According to Jensen, "It is logically impossible to maximize in more than one dimension, so purposeful behavior requires a single valued objective function."  That's an economist speaking, someone who needs life to fit into a formula.  For the rest of us, the idea of maximizing "in more than one dimension" is something we all try to do every single day of our lives.  Just ask a parent who has more than one child.

    And this one seems to fit your MBA experience:


    Recent studies by the Aspen Institute show that when students enter business school, they believe that the purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services for the benefit of society.  When they graduate, they believe that it is to maximize shareholder value.


  2. 21 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

    What does "take" mean? Believe? "Take" on faith? Why? Why believe anyone who reports what you cannot know to be true on the basis of the evidence provided? What does "know" mean? Do you know the reporter? Her editors? Have you met her? Laid eyes on her? In what way do you "know" that devil?

    As always, I appreciate the reading recommendation.  In response to your line of questioning, I thought (wrongly) that the preceding paragraph would provide enough context for the use of an adage.  What I meant by "take" was not outright trust or belief, but rather where I decide to use my finite time to read the news (i.e. I'll read news reported by NYTimes, WSJ, Washington Post over content on 4chan, Infowars, etc.).

    An aside: this is may be one of those cases where the use of the "her" pronoun does gender-inclusive writing a disservice. ;)

    21 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

    Why believe, learn you were deceived, then feel better when you're told the author of the false report was disciplined? Why not, upon reading a "report," just shrug and say, "Interesting, but what do I know," then wait to see what develops?

    Big media journalism is a business.

    I don't think this is a fair characterization of my comments - nowhere in this thread have I stated to believe first and verify later or that I or anyone should accept deception because we'll all feel better when an author of a false report is disciplined.  If you think I'm the type of person who jumps to conclusions or makes hasty generalizations, well I'm at least curious what gave you that impression.  Generally, I think I'm a thoughtful consumer of information who reads multiple sources to see if they separately corroborate the information (i.e. don't just report the other outlet's information) before formulating a position or reaching a conclusion (though I am human so I'll admit that sometimes my relative youth or biases do get the best of me).  I understand, and don't dispute, that traditional news outlets are businesses which carry a whole host of incentivizes that may cause them to sensationalize the news or move on to the next news cycle all too quickly (or too slowly in the case of CNN's MH370 coverage); however, alternative/independent news sources are surely not exempt from their own set of incentives (monetary or otherwise) and I think they present a whole new host of problems relating to transparency and credibility (which I'm not going to rehash).

    As for the wait and see approach you propose, while generally prudent, I think it can be a bystander luxury.  By that I mean, the very nature of "see what develops" requires further fact finding.  In some cases, information, the discovery of further facts, and/or a decision is time sensitive and does not permit waiting to see.  In other cases, if that further fact finding requires more or stronger resources (e.g. a subpoena) waiting to see may not compel further fact finding because everyone will scurry off to the next news cycle or distraction and the previous topic will be forgotten.  So sure, when one can, gather more information or wait for it to develop; however, a time may come where one is asked to use incomplete or competing information to make a decision and take a position.  Then what?

  3. 20 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

    Let's be critical thinkers. I don't know whether the story is likely wrong. By fabricated, I presume that you mean a lie. Since I don't know whether the story is wrong, I don't know whether the story is a lie (fabricated). Do I think that readers should approach any story with unnamed sources with a critical eye? I would have thought that my answer would be obvious from what else I have said this morning.

    All that I know is that the NYTimes has reported that it has been told something by someone and that they called that "breaking news." What do I do with that news? How should I react to that news? With a shrug. What should I do with that news? Nothing.

    I suppose that's one way of looking at news that relies on anonymous sources, but imagine if there was a collective shrug in response to the reports on Watergate, the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, or the U.S.'s use of secret detention facilities in Europe (just to name a few impactful reports that relied on anonymous sources).  I fully understand that reporting, particularly when it relies on anonymous sources, is not infallible and should be subject to a healthy dose of skepticism, but there are better reactions to those reports than outright distrust from some or, as you stated, a shrug and no action (I, for one, doubt that's actually your reaction...my guess is you try to see if other outlets are reporting or corroborating the news).  For anyone who may merely distrust or discount news that relies on anonymous sources, consider the following two articles as a primer (or any other guide to anonymous sources) to help you make an informed assessment of the information instead:


    I think most of us here would agree that, more broadly speaking, the reporting and exchange of information is imperfect (anyone who can recall playing the telephone game in elementary school understands that from a young age).  While the following provides an impactful of example where the media got it wrong...

    20 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

    See this about the NYTimes' reporting on the invasion of Iraq, by the NYTimes. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/26/world/from-the-editors-the-times-and-iraq.html

    Note how they set the stage for their statement of the problem and how they describe the problem as one of "coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been." Perhaps we should call that "sweetening the well."

    ...regardless of whether this is "sweetening the well" or something else, I do think it begins to highlight a key difference between the traditional media and alternative/independent media: that a degree of transparency and accountability can and does exist.  Traditional media promulgates standards and ethics for their reporting (http://asne.org/resources-ethics) and while that does not make their reporting above reproach, it does establish a set of expectations for accountability that warrants retrospectives like the one Vern posted here or suspensions and firings of individuals who violate those standards and misreport.  Whether the degree of accountability regarding an incident is adequate is debatable - I'll stipulate that sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't - but its prevalence in one space compared to the other is not.  Let's consider conversely, for example, whether or not the anonymous individual(s) who "reported" "pizzagate" will ever publish a retrospective of any kind?  I seriously doubt it, particularly because there is no standard for accountability nor anyone to hold accountable.  For those distrustful of traditional media in favor of alterative/independent media, it's puzzling when one considers how many "reporters" in the alternative/independent media operate under a shroud of complete anonymity.  If they "publish" a false "report," reestablishing one's credibility is as simple as creating a new handle (or user name) for filing the next "report" (or, in some cases, conveniently "pivoting" to the "I'm a performance artist merely playing a character" defense).  Writers for traditional media have to, at a minimum, put their name/credibility on the line (and their outlet's as well) based on a set of publicly available expectations.  So when one does misreport (either accidently or purposefully), a reader can approach any future reports with whatever skepticism may be warranted based on previous events.  It's no wonder Stephen Glass will never get rehired at a traditional media company as a journalist due to public knowledge of his gross fabrications (though I suppose he could easily start reporting again via 4chan...).

    In short, I'll take the devils I know over the devils I don't/can't know any day of the week (and twice on Sundays because of the crossword puzzles :))

    P.S. While I quote Vern's comments in the later half of this post, the comments that followed are not intended to imply that Vern defended or promoted alternative/independent media - I'm merely using them as a springboard to juxtapose the level of accountability between traditional media and alternative/independent media.

  4. 13 minutes ago, bob7947 said:

    Matthew Fleharty:

    The second link you provided in your latest post warns readers that the site contains malware.  Of course, that may be part of this topic.  If it isn't, could you please test the link and remove it.

    Bob, I didn't get that warning when I accessed it (otherwise I would not have posted it), but I removed it nevertheless.  Better safe than sorry.  Thanks for the heads up.

  5. On 1/25/2018 at 12:57 PM, PepeTheFrog said:

    Matthew, there is no way this is your best.

    You're right, this doesn't deserve my best.





    If you're going to use a term of art like "poisoning the well," use it correctly (or maybe the whole point of this thread is that there is no truth to include the proper usage of "poisoning the well").

  6. 17 minutes ago, PepeTheFrog said:

    Seems like "poisoning the well" is something you do not want to consider. Thank you again for proving my point. As far as specifics, there are rules for Wifcon about defamation and attacking individuals. PepeTheFrog understands you are not interested in anything other than what the New York Times has told you, and that is your prerogative. 

    Do you even know what "poisoning the well" means?  It's preemptive by nature and the article I cited that you're referring to is an examination after the fact which begs the question, how could it be preemptive?

    17 minutes ago, PepeTheFrog said:

    PepeTheFrog loves you both, FrankJon and Matthew! Thank God America has informed citizens, an honest press, and critical thinkers! Democracy dies in darkness, after all. Thank you for Correcting The Record and taking these brave positions.

    You've revealed yourself for what you truly are - a cowardly frog who hides behind anonymity, sarcasm, straw man fallacies, and vague/cryptic comments.  If, however, this is truly what you're reading and thinking, someone has poisoned the well that WIFCON's poor frog drinks from.

  7. 28 minutes ago, PepeTheFrog said:

    Research this issue beyond the New York Times. The specific pictures and comments, unsurprisingly, are not posted or mentioned in that New York Times "summary." Google is your friend. You can find a complete archived compilation of all the pictures and comments. Again, do not look at them on a work computer. They're disgusting.

    Specific? Your posts are anything but...

    "one of the main characters" - who exactly?  name, handle, etc.?

    "the pictures and comments" - which ones exactly?  what do they show or describe?

    You of all frogs should realize that you're shifting the burden of proof here (e.g. prove it isn't vs. prove it is...and to make this even more absurd you don't even define "it" because your posts are so vague and cryptic).  I'm going to hop along now as I have more important topics to research and dedicate my time to than allegations of Hillary Clinton running a child-trafficking ring out of a pizza parlor.

  8. 43 minutes ago, PepeTheFrog said:

    As far as the details of the story you reference, notice that no establishment or legacy media source ever published or questioned the pictures and comments, publicly posted on Instagram, from one of the main characters. 

    What pictures and comments are you referring to specifically? I’m not going to litigate “pizzagate” here, but I don’t think you’ve done your research (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/10/business/media/pizzagate.html).

  9. Given how RAND framed their research into the issue of "truth decay" I'm less concerned about that concept and more concerned about the ease with which one can blatantly disseminate misinformation and the resulting consequences (e.g. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/business/media/comet-ping-pong-pizza-shooting-fake-news-consequences.html).  Blatant misinformation preys on a human's cognitive biases (anchoring effect - the tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information received).  Coupled with short news cycles and a plethora of distractions, those who speak first and loudest can win the argument regardless of the validity or soundness of the position.

    I came across an article in Foreign Policy after the election that those interested in this general topic may find interesting (http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/11/10/the-dance-of-the-dunces-trump-clinton-election-republican-democrat/).  For those who may be turned off by the article's title, don't be...here's the last sentence:


    Trump’s victory is the victory of the uninformed. But, to be fair, Clinton’s victory would also have been. Democracy is the rule of the people, but the people are in many ways unfit to rule.

    Our world is full of distractions and temptations that are more immediately rewarding than thinking.  It's no wonder that most people I know can name more athletes on their favorite sports team or actors and actresses than they can politicians, academics, or business leaders.

    I suspect these same issues may apply to acquisition knowledge and "truths" as well.

  10. Here’s some more food for thought on AI from this news this week:



    “Technically it’s an accomplishment, but it’s not like we have to begin worshiping our robot overlords,” said Ernest Davis, a New York University professor of computer science and longtime AI researcher.


  11. I came across the following article in FCW and I’m absolutely baffled.  


    For starters, I don’t understand how utilizing AI will make the contracting process innovative or faster.  In regards to innovation, presumably an AI system can only return results based on the data it already has in its database which, by its very nature, is empirical - so how will that create new processes, techniques, or best practices?  In regards to speed, AI assistance for making Contracting Officer decisions isn’t going to make a dent in acquisition process timelines unless those AI outputs aren’t subject to the clearance and review processes (aka if leadership wants COs to cede their authority and ability to make decisions to AI they should be equally willing to do the same).


    The report noted that to prepare the system, contracting officers must first upload massive amounts of data to inform AI's decision-making -- a "major effort before the system can be helpful."

    From what I’ve seen, there is a growing myopic obsession with data and speed - I’d prefer that instead of undertaking a “major effort” to enable an AI system, we instead undertake a “major effort” to enable the acquisition workforce with the right education and materials.  One can hope...

    Maybe my concerns are overblown, but I’ve seen hints of the damage that an automated system can have on workforce competency (e.g. “clause logic” systems).

  12. Quote

    The time spent from RFP up to award...should be done in in less than 60 days, if not 30, which is still not aggressive enough.

    Has Mr. Fischetti read FAR Subpart 5.2 recently?  Assuming the requirement is non-commercial, there is a minimum 15 day synopsis period and then a minimum 30 or 45 day solicitation period.  How is it reasonable to expect an RFP to award timeline of 60 days or less with those requirements (constraints)?

  13. 28 minutes ago, MiamiSB said:

    Unfortunately, it does not, although it does cite 52.217-8 and 52.217-9.  The former makes it sound like any extension can only be for six months, although they ask for five years. . . .

    Does the solicitation have the provision FAR 52.212-2 "Evaluation - Commercial Items"?  If so, check paragraph (b) which reads:


    (b) Options. The Government will evaluate offers for award purposes by adding the total price for all options to the total price for the basic requirement. The Government may determine that an offer is unacceptable if the option prices are significantly unbalanced. Evaluation of options shall not obligate the Government to exercise the option(s).


  14. 1.  See definition of "option in FAR 2.101 which states:


    “Option” means a unilateral right in a contract by which, for a specified time, the Government may elect to purchase additional supplies or services called for by the contract, or may elect to extend the term of the contract.

    As long as the Government exercises the option in strict accordance with the contract's terms and conditions, it is their unilateral right and you would have to comply or otherwise be in breach of the contract.


    2.  Be diligent - you should know your company and your market better than I do so estimate as accurately as possible and with care.


    3.  Read the solicitation.  It should have either FAR 52.217-3 "Evaluation Exclusive of Options" or FAR 52.217-5 "Evaluation of Options."  Generally, the Government evaluates the base year plus all options.

  15. I've re-read the decision and I'll make one more attempt: are you referring to the inconsistency between the CBCA's mathematical calculations to determine which costs DMI was or was not entitled to and the basic principles governing terminations for convenience that the CBCA cites:


    A settlement should compensate the contractor fairly for the work done and the preparations made for the terminated portions of the contract. . . . Fair compensation is a matter of judgment and cannot be measured exactly. . . . The use of business judgment, as distinguished from strict accounting principles, is the heart of a settlement.

    In other words, if DMI's subcontract was reasonable (which the CBCA states it was on pg 18), DMI should be entitled to the full amount of subcontract costs incurred.

  16. If this contract is for severable services and the contractor failed to perform those services for an entire month then subsequently submitted an invoice for that month, that could be a violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S. Code § 3729 (reference Holt and Klass, "Implied Certification Under the False Claim Act," Public Contract Law Journal (Fall 2011):


    The False Claims Act (FCA) expressly prohibits government contractors from submitting “a false record or statement” material to a claim for payment. And under the judicially created doctrine of implied certification, a mere request for payment implicitly represents material compliance with the contract, as well as relevant statutes and regulations. As a result, a government contractor who requests payment without disclosing a known material breach can violate the FCA, triggering treble damages and fines of between $5,000 and $10,000 for each payment request.

    Without reading your contract and knowing what supporting documentation may be available, I can’t give you a definitive answer; however, I can say that the Government has more options available to address non-performance than merely rating the contractor poorly in CPARS (even if the contract is FFP).

    One caution: the number of hours worked is likely irrelevant as you probably did not contract for a certain number of hours (regardless of the “estimates” you mention in your post).  What is likely relevant are the contract’s requirements: if the Government contracted for X, Y, and Z services and the contractor failed to perform X, Y, and Z services, there is a problem; however, if the contractor performed X, Y, and Z services in half the “estimated” time, that sounds like a job well done to me.

  17. Whether it was the "initial" bid or not has no bearing on whether the bid was late.  Consider if the company withdrew their "initial" bid (asked for it back) and then resubmitted the same bid without changing anything 4 minutes after the time specified (as alleged).  The "initial" bid would then be late and cannot be considered unless it fulfills the criteria of FAR 14.304(b).


  18. Quote

    For instance, in response to the Air Force’s request for dismissal of the protest underlying this reconsideration request, Latvian Connection filed a 28-page statement containing dozens of excerpts, tables, computer screenshots, and pictures, interspersed with commentary (often derogatory) from the protester. See Response at 1-28. The statement is presented in a confusing array of text sizes, fonts, highlighting, and varying margins, rendering it unintelligible. Id. The response comprised 5 emails with nearly 30 attachments and included: (1) a 2010 notice of intent by the Air Force to award a sole-source contract for mail porter services; (2) Latvian Connection’s 2010 GAO protest of the same; (3) a 2010 complaint filed by Latvian Connection with the Air Force’s OIG against the contracting officer for proposing the sole-source award; (4) a May 2017 Department of Justice press release announcing a defense contractor’s agreement to resolve allegations that the contractor overcharged the United States; (5) a 2014 memorandum prepared by the Commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 386th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, documenting the unannounced and unescorted access by the chief executive officer (CEO) of Latvian Connection and his subsequent removal from the installation; (6) a June 2017 RFQ for desktop computers and a quotation for same; and (7) several pictures of current and former Supreme Court justices, scattered throughout excerpts from the pleadings, transcript of oral arguments, the Court’s opinion in Kingdomware Technologies v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 1969, 195 L. Ed. 2d 334 (2016), and Latvian Connection’s commentary on the case. See id., Emails & Attachs.

    None of these items was relevant to addressing the timeliness of the protest or otherwise showed that Latvian Connection was an interested party. See also Latvian Connection, LLC, B-413442, supra, at 2 (“In response to the dismissal request, Latvian Connection submitted 25 pages of excerpts cut and pasted from a variety of documents, none of which addresses the agency’s contentions.”). In fact, nothing in the hundreds of pages of documents that Latvian Connection filed in response to the dismissal request in the underlying protest addressed or disputed the fact that Latvian Connection had actual knowledge of its bases of protest over 1 month before it filed the protest. See generally Response, Emails & Attachs.

    I would be more curious, but I had the unfortunate experience of reading similarly unintelligible posts during Latvian's brief stint on WIFCON...:wacko: