Washington is all abuzz about the possibility of a government shutdown. At the agency where I work, many of my colleagues are worried, but all I can do is smile when I think of the giant octopus of bureaucracy having its tentacles bound in great hoops of taxpayer wrath, condemned to squirm ineffectually in the cold depths of budgetary nothingness – for a week or two, at least. I am proudly non-essential, so I wouldn’t be one of the few who have to come in; I’ve even been fantasizing about booking a “government shutdown cruise” somewhere. Or maybe doing some extensive shooting at the range.
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The prospect of a shutdown is not what’s really got my fellow employees stirred up, however. Because some of that stimulus money came our way, management has undertaken a building renovation, which includes, among other things, asbestos abatement (ours is a fairly old pile, built back in the early 40s). This has scared many of my associates here, and, while their concerns are certainly legitimate, there is a sizable core of folks who have become practically hysterical over the matter (interestingly, the hysterical, zero-tolerance crowd conforms very closely to those employees of known liberal political sensibilities) Reducing risks to anything other than zero is not good enough for them; the only acceptable alternative, in their view, is to move us all out of the building. The abatement process is supposed to take ten weeks, spread out over (I believe) five years. Senior management – clueless as ever – was stunned by the highly vocal opposition to the asbestos abatement project, and there have been three mass meetings, each one more raucous and incendiary than the last. The best solution would be for congress to simply cancel any unspent stimulus money: no renovation, no asbestos abatement (and, incidentally, a reduction in the use of taxpayer dollars).
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How best to round up the fugitive Wisconsin Democrats who are presently hiding out in Illinois? Here are a few thoughts:
1) Set out giant roach motels stuffed with hundred dollar bills
2) Hire professional big-game hunters - armed with tranquilizer dart guns and seated in howdahs on the backs of elephants - and send skilled beaters out in front of them along the motel strips on likely interstate highways and state roads
3) Contract with bounty hunters to fetch them back
4) Call for new elections in the districts of those playing truant.
Additional suggestions welcome.
Update: Steve Burri is opting for #3.