Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Shouldn't a Congressman know how to spell "Congressman?"

There has been lots of justifiable complaining about our dysfunctional Congress.

It was hard to find a better example of Congressional dysfunction than the website of Hakeem Jeffries, who represents the 8th Congressional District of New York. The district includes parts of the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

Text near the top on the home page and on dozens of other pages identifies Rep. Jeffries as a "Congresman." Strangely, I found a few pages where "Congressman" is spelled correctly. I'm not sure if consistency is more important than accuracy.

Also at the top of most of the site's pages was a very distinctive silhouette map -- of MASSACHUSETTS. It's the wrong shape, the wrong state and the wrong map.
(left-click to enlarge)
Hakeem Jeffries represents Bedford-Stuyvesant, not Boston. Some of his constituents live on Coney Island, not on Cape Cod. His gerrymanderish district is shaped something like a reversed letter "C." The eastern shore of Massachusetts is shaped something like a letter "G." 

  • The bottom of the homepage had a link for "THE AFFORABLE CARE ACT AND YOU."
  • The press release sections showed several releases with headings like "Rep. Jeffries Statement on Conflict in Syria." His last name needs an apostrophe (or maybe even an apostrophe plus "s") to form the possessive case. Rep. Jeffries was awarded honors for outstanding academic achievement at SUNY and he graduated magna cum laude from NYU. That's nice. He's apparently a smart guy and may provide excellent service to his constituents, but he needs to pay more attention to grammar.
  • A link for "Flags" went to a page about the Affordable Care Act.
  • Links for various kinds of issues such as "national security" and "education" pointed to unrelated items.
OK, I recognize that Rep. Jeffries probably did not personally construct his website, and maybe even did not read everything on it. That's no excuse. Not for anyone, and especially not for someone who serves on the Congressional Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.

The purpose of this posting is not to embarrass a Congressman (well, maybe just a little). My purpose is to emphasize that we should try hard to avoid being stupid in public, and that it's equally important to not hire people who make us look stupid.

Pay careful attention to the work done by employees, contractors and suppliers. They probably don't care as much as you do, or as much as you should.

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