Monday, February 28, 2011

Paco’s Diary

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.


bruce said...

Yeah, the 'right to be risk-free'.

Pandora's Box, the demise of the liberal state.

JeffS said...

Regarding the about baiting the traps with scantily clad waitresses waving $100 bills?

= = = = = = = = =

As for the shut down......the eerie thing at my agency is that we have not heard one word about it through the supervisory chain. Nothing from the CEO, or the staff gurus who are supposedly geniuses when it comes to matters of The Federal Goobermint. And it's not for want of people asking; anyone following the news knows what is going on.

Yet, back when this happened before (what, 1996?), we heard lots. And I do mean LOTS. There was a contingency plan, information passed to the employees as they found out stuff, etc.

Now? Nada. Zilch. Zip. Nothing. I find that most disturbing.

And I'm not sure if I'm an essential employee or not. This place has carefully avoided designating anyone as NON-essential, so I suspect that they consider every one as essential. We'll find out if the shutdown comes to pass.

JeffS said...

Yeah, the 'right to be risk-free'.

Bruce, the only place that could be "risk free" is the grave. And even that can debated.

richard mcenroe said...

Paco, you ought to check out Sean Linnane on the asbestos/mesothelioma deal. The man is no hysteric and this seems to be something not to be taken lightly, hysterical ambulance chasers or no. I know we had to jump through hoops when they found asbestos while renovating the bar at the American Legion post.

(I got a good laugh out of the HAZMAT team at least: "You have no idea how serious this is! We haven't had a dry meeting since 1994!"

Paco said...

Richard: Oh, I think the concern is legitimate, don't get me wrong about that, and I'd be the last one to assume that government contractors are necessarily going to do it right. It's just that some people decided, as soon as they heard about asbestos abatement, that there was automatically no alternative to moving people out of the building.

To management's credit, they have taken the employees' concerns seriously and have offered to let an employees' group pick their own independent firm to monitor air quality. But for some, that's still not good enough.

Yojimbo said...


I just read over at the Cidster's blog that Jane Russell has passed.

What a classy lady.

Isophorone said...

If your office space is full of asbestos you can always have EPA move people there. Many employees have experience with working in asbestos-laden areas.

As far as the fleebaggers are concerned, yes, having compromising pictures of them taken with attractive young ladies is a good operation. Maybe it's a task for Inspector Paco? The other good idea I heard was to declare them dead. That way they have to show up, alive if they do not want a special election called.

richard mcenroe said...

Isn't just coursing the fleebaggers through the streets with packs of Irish wolfhounds an option?

Anonymous said...

Paco, do any of the cruise liners have shooting ranges? Two birds with, well, a bullet instead of the traditional "one stone", as it were. Might help clear the lungs of asbestos. Oops, guess that makes it three birds. Hey, wait! Do you folks get to sue for exposure to the asbestos? Might pay for that resettlement to warmer climes...and more shootie things. Employee's groups handling air quality is like a ordering pizza.

I second that suggestion for a Detective Paco story. Meant to ask you, is Detective Paco a volunteer fireman in his "spare time"?

Deborah Leigh

Anonymous said...

Isophorone, that's a great idea of declaring them dead!

At the very least, they are AWOL. Since the teachers are getting pink slips, so should the fleebaggers.

Deborah Leigh

Paco said...

Isophorone: Brilliant suggestions!

Col. Milquetoast said...

do any of the cruise liners have shooting ranges?

hmmmmm, sounds like a business opportunity right up Paco's alley. The UK recently had a slightly used aircraft carrier up for auction... then charter a trip to visit the pirates off Somalia for target practice.