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A Note About the Burn Bag

– Domani Spero


Just a quick note on the Burn Bag — we’re not always able to publish the entries you send us, or as quickly as you may want.  The intent remains the same, it’s cheaper than therapy.  We’re still talking about the “I’m feeling blue, I want to scream” things that you can’t put on your blog, things that’s making you tear out your hair or stuff you can’t tell your friends here or at post because — admit it, you live in a very large fishbowl.  As a reminder, kindly check the guidelines for sending your Burn Bag entries here.

One of our regular readers, a former ambassador suggested that some of these Burn Bag entries ought to be submitted not to this blog but to the OIG Hotline. That, of course, is not/not up for us to decide but for the writers/senders of these Burn Bag entries.

In any case, we promised to remind you about the Hotline.

If you need to report waste, fraud or mismanagement, please contact the State Department Office of Inspector General Hotline.   If you need to, you may contact the Hotline via email: or call 202-647-3320 or 800-409-9926.

According to the State/OIG website, examples of allegations that should be reported to the OIG Hotline include misuse, embezzlement or theft of government property or funds; contract or procurement fraud; contractor misconduct; passport and visa malfeasance; fraud, waste and mismanagement of Department and BBG operations; employee misconduct, such as misuse of official position; bribes or unauthorized acceptance of gifts; conflicts of interest and other ethical violations; and defense trade control violations.

Please check out the rest on the OIG Hotline page here.

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Earth Embassy Ganymede Administrative Notice #04-010103: Morale, WD-40, Duct Tape

– Domani Spero

Originally posted in Diplopundit on April 18, 2013. Republished today for a very good reason.

Administrative Notice #05-011300: Morale

It has come to management’s attention that there has been a lot of chatter and hyperspace email about morale and safety at this outpost.  This notice serves as a reminder to everyone under Ganymede outpost authority that discussion about morale is an unproductive use of work time. Morale is self-esteem in action; individuals who perceived that morale is lacking may need help in improving their self-esteem. Please make every effort to schedule an appointment to see the quadrant psychiatrist.

Ganymede management fully believes, like the 34th American President Dwight Eisenhower, that the best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. In that sprit, management formally informs all departments and employees that morale is not/not an issue and is not/not a subject to be discussed in hypermail, text, video, radio, verbal or any alternate manner of communication within and outside the mission.  Anyone caught peddling these stories will be subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to curtailment of current assignment or a lengthy TDY to the outermost prograde moon of Carpo.

In an effort to be responsive to all concerns, below are some FAQs that the section  had the pleasure of addressing the last 12 moons. We hope that the answers are useful to you and your families and help alleviate persistent concerns.

English: WD-40

English: WD-40 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EaEmbassy Ganymede

Is Ganymede a family-friendly post?

Absolutely. It is the most family-friendly assignment in the quadrant with excellent schools and some of the best apartments available in the sector. Living conditions are approximated to be similar to the home planet and the quality of life is super-excellent.  Consistent demand for assignments to this outpost has repeatedly resulted in a long wait list at every rotation cycle.

I’ve been thinking of asking for a transfer to Ganymede.  But I heard that life there is a big joke … I don’t get what’s the joke.

Life in Ganymede is not/not a big joke. Once you understand that Ganymede is too big to fail, you’ll find your groove. This is the place where you want to be.  No other outpost will afford you the challenges and opportunities to excel and earn a fast-tracked promotion.

How safe is Ganymede given that riots are breaking out in all parts of the hostplanet:

Safe. Very safe, if you’re careful.

Ganymedeans breached the outpost walls, they can do it again, should I worry?

There’s no reason to worry.  Ganymedeans are not/not anti-Earthlings, anti-humans or what have you.  They were blowing off steam. Period. Now that they have, things should return to normal. If you think things have not returned to normal, give it time; things should return to normal. Soon.

There are assaults reported daily, it sounds like traveling around the hostplanet has become extremely dangerous. Is that perception correct?

Ganymede is the largest moon in this sector. Like any large, densely inhabited city on Earth (e.g. New York City, New Delhi, Bogota, Buenos Aires), crime is ever present. This is not/not unique to this outpost.  Travel in pairs if needed, and bring your stun gun, if necessary.

The Manager for Planetary Services reportedly quit over extreme bureaucratic bullying, is this true?

Absolutely not. The manager quit because the official got too old for the job. Other employers in this sector throw old officials out the airlock. Fortunately, EaEmbassy Ganymede has a generous separation package specifically for older workers traveling back to the home planet.

There are rumors and allegations that some of the top Ganymede officials have, on several occasions, pushed and bossed around subordinates and threatened them with penalties. How accurate are these stories?

Have you ever heard of American poet, Robert Frost?  He said that the reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.  Isn’t that an excellent point?  Stop listening to rumors. Stop worrying. All our top Ganymede officials were handpicked and subjected to a battery of reviews and 360 feedbacks from friends, peers, and colleagues. All with spectacular results. They are all as lovable and huggable as Alaskan polar bears.

I used to have an open mind, then I got to Ganymede and my brains kept falling out. What am I doing wrong?

To keep an open mind, a person needs only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use the tape. This works even in Ganymede.

I am terribly upset that my concerns have not been taken seriously.  How do I set a laser printer to stun?

The management office works hard to address all of your concerns and aims to make every assignment to Ganymede a satisfying one.   Unfortunately, all laser printer at post at this time do not have a stun setting.  However, the procurement section is exploring the possibility of adding a stun setting to all laser printers with end of year funding.


Note that this is from a work in progress.  Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Morale is self-esteem in action,  is a quote by Avery Weisman; WD-40 and laser printer quips are found items around the net.

Ugh! Just saw that the Russians are interested on Ganymede, now.  Well, dammit, I am not changing my fictional embassy’s name again, so don’t write to complain about that.


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Dear Diplopundit’s Friends, Thank You! — Every Blog Dies Eventually, But Not Everyday, and Not Today

–Domani Spero

Dear blog funders and supporters, thank you for your generous support!  I hope I have thanked each of you personally.  For the few anonymous donors who did not leave their contact email, please know that you have our deep gratitude for supporting our efforts.

Our crowdfunding project concluded over the weekend. We raised a total of $4,110.  Several additional contributions were sent through our Friends of Diplopundit via PayPal.  The total raised was not an unexpected result.  We know there are folks who consider what we do to be merely a “stamp your little foot hobby,” but we consider it work that requires time, dedication and energy. We  set the  goal of 40k to approximate what your blogger earned as an analyst some years ago.

The truth is that while your blogger is doing this kind of work, the hubby is responsible for bills.  And he’s not getting any younger.  In the real world, this has created what we would politely call a low-intensity conflict in the domestic front.  He means well.  He’s worried that your blogger may end up as a bag lady with bad teeth.  In any case, to avoid that end and further conflict, your blogger is looking at 2014 as a make or break year.  That means cobbling together enough funds this year to show that she can sustain what she’s doing financially.  In addition to the funds you have contributed, we are actively looking at ads, and sponsorships. We are also talking to a few “angel bundlers” who are interested in helping sustain the blog.  Whether that comes in separate funding or institutional support we still don’t know. We will update you when we know more.

In the short term, your blogger won’t be working the floors at WalMart.  The blog will continue as before.  Whether or not the blog remains after 2014 depends on what happens this year.

This past week, we learned that somebody we featured in this blog finally received the  help they needed.  What wonderful news!  To those reading this blog and made that happen, thank you!

In any case, we’ve got work to do — but for now, being alive is what counts.

And as our favorite Doctor would say, “We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”  We hope to make it our best one yet.

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A Nigerian prince is tantalizing us with promises of West African riches but …

We are on the last six days of our crowdfunding project.

And those African riches potentially involve a bloody shootout.

Captain X, commander of the Special NATO coalition force in [insert war zone] is also anxious to split USD [insert amount] million in exchange for smuggling money in the burn bag. Our burn bag?!

These charmers are rather suspicious.  So we’re ignoring them for the moment.   If you want to help keep us around, see Help Diplopundit Continue the Chase—Crowdfunding for 2014 via RocketHub.  We heard from a couple who encountered some difficulties with using the DPO address.  If you want an alternative way to donate, you may use the Friends of Diplopundit PayPal page here.  Or if you’d rather send a check, you can, too, but you need to mail it to RocketHub.  Email us separately for instructions on doing that at contact[at]diplopundit[dot]net.

If not, you may skip the clip and watch the Marvelous Ed Sheeran sing The Beatles’ In My Life.

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Diplopundit’s Pins and Repins on Pinterest — Mascots and Muppets Coming Soon!

– Domani Spero

Our collected photos from this blog is now on Pinterest. Check it out We’ll add some more to the pins and albums as we’re slowly going through the photos from the last six years.

Made with Pinco

(click on image to visit Pinterest page)

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Second to the last week — “If found on ground, please drag to finish line.”

A quote from Doctor Who a runner’s tshirt for our 3600th post.  We are on the second to the last week of our crowdfunding project. If you want to help keep us around, see Help Diplopundit Continue the Chase—Crowdfunding for 2014 via RocketHub. Grazie!

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Because Doctor Who Said, “Now …… Just Run” ─ ─=≡=≡°◦┏( >_<)┛

Screen Shot 2014-01-06We’re running our crowdfunding project from January 1 until February 15, 2014. Please see our crowd funding page via  RocketHub. Thank you!

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Help Diplopundit Continue the Chase — Crowdfunding for 2014

– Domani Spero

Diplopundit has been running almost continuously since March 2008.  It has published over 3,500 blog posts and is on track for nearly two million visits.  In 2013 Diplopundit doubled the number of visits it received in 2012.  Over the last two years the blog was viewed more often than it was during its first four years combined.

During its six-year run Diplopundit has exceeded the typical life span of most similar blogs by twelve times.  Take that, Grim Reaper of Blogs!  Some readers have been with this blog since its beginning, and we are grateful.  Thank you for sticking with us all this time . . . even when we were not especially funny or when our rants went over the top.  To our newer readers, welcome and we hope you are finding visits to Diplopundit worth your time.  The blog tries to be timely, informative and, well, witty.  It does not always succeed at that, but never for lack of trying.

As it turns out, your blogger had reached a milestone this year, too.  She has counted more than a dozen strands of gray hair and discovered that she is officially old.  Okay, ADEA or AARP old, but not dead. But, hey, the last time she looked in the mirror, she was, well … a babe and now, ugh! she’s not.  Anyway, whenever she start obsessing about that stranger in the mirror, one of you inevitably pulls out from somewhere a white rabbit that runs around, muttering something like, “Oh dear! Oh dear! Something is happening over there!”  And there we go with another chase down the hole; sometimes it’s pretty and fun, and sometimes it’s really not – especially the heartbreaking bits.

In any case, your blogger is not sure how much longer Diplopundit will be able to stay around chasing rabbits. That will depend principally on you, our readers.  Your blogger has been entertaining thoughts of running off to Colorado to join the weed stampede of “potpreneurs.”  Apparently, that is the greatest new business opportunity since the fall of the Berlin Wall.  However, your blogger has no idea which weed is pot and which weeds are not, so — the learning curve would be pretty high.  She would much rather continue to follow the goings on in international affairs and the institution of our Foreign Service.  But following these interests can no longer be exclusively the chasing of a diplomatic white rabbit down a  hole to learn what delightful or frightful adventures might be discovered there.

Pardon me?  Oh, well, yes, she’s grown up and is now required to balance her check book and pay her bills.

On average, roughly 130,000 visitors return to this blog each year. If everyone reading this gave $1, we would not have to worry sustaining this blog and your old blogger for three years. But we all know, it’s not as simple as that.

If you find our work interesting or useful, or even entertaining at times, we hope you will support Diplopundit’s crowdfunding for 2014 via RocketHub.

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If you want to donate without displaying your name publicly, please see the following steps: 

  • Go to Dashboard then My Profile
  • Scroll down to Update Your Account Info, fill in the name you want to display publicly. You may use your real name, an alias or “Anonymous” if preferable.
  • Click on the “Fund This Project” red button.

Thank you!

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Some Top Attractions From 2013 – Goodbye Old Year, and Happy New Year!

– Domani Spero


Embassy Row’s Dirty Little Secret: Abuse of Migrant Domestic Workers by Diplomats

Near, far, wherever you are, Benghazi will go on and on … oh, but do you want to buy a Benghazi thong?

US Embassy Ukraine Gets High Marks and Yay! State/OIG Now Discloses Names of Inspectors

US Mission Kenya: USAID FSN’s Wife Ruhila Adatia-Sood Killed at Westgate Mall Attack

US Embassy Malta Gets a Viral Video But — Not the Kind You Want

$630K To Buy Facebook Fans — Is That Really Such a Sin? Only If There’s Nothin’ But Strategery

After 1,989 Day-Vacancy — President Obama Nominates Steve Linick as State Dept Inspector General

Raymond Maxwell: Former Deputy Asst Secretary Removed Over Benghazi Pens a Poem

State Dept Issues New Guidance for 2013 Fourth of July Embassy Events – More Zombies, Please

State/OIG on Diplomatic Security’s Special Investigations Division – The Missing Firewall

In the Foreign Service: Death, Too Close An Acquaintance

2012 State Dept Annual Awards: Greatest Achievements in Many Fields, Mostly By Men


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Reposting below U.S. Embassy Bangkok’s New Year 2014 video. Wishing you all a more peaceful and prosperous new year. DS






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