The federal technocracy, like the old B-horror-movie monster The Blob, grows by sucking all surrounding life into its amoeba-like digestive system. There are never enough bureaucratic controls or government programs to “incentivize” us—in the jargon—to behave in ways the technocrats think best.Read more
Sometime in the next two years, if Obama administration bureaucrats get their way, public housing tenants who smoke in their own apartments will face sanctions, fines and perhaps even eviction. The proposed policy is deeply flawed. However, those who oppose it—as many conservatives will reflexively—ought to use their opposition to reconsider misguided if well intentioned efforts to micromanage the lives of the poor even when such efforts come from the political right.Read more
A tradition in the Senate required a newly elected member to wait a year or more before addressing his colleagues on the Senate floor. But that practice has been absent from the Senate for decades—until today.Read more
It has long been good sport to make fun of the government. Ronald Reagan did it with a fine, almost deft touch. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language,” he would tell an audience, “are I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
Just about everyone, at one time or another, has used the phrase “Good enough for government work,” and we all know what it means: that something conforms to the high customer service standards one enjoys when shopping for stamps in the post office.Read more
The latest political happenings—the rise of Donald Trump, John Boehner’s surprise resignation as speaker of the House of Representatives, Hillary Clinton’s slide against the septuagenarian socialist Bernie Sanders—remind me of a verse from the old Rolling Stones song “Jigsaw Puzzle”:
Oh, there’s twenty-thousand grandmas.
Wave their hankies in the air.
All burning up their pensionsRead more
How happy in their jobs are government workers? Well, the sovereign answer to that question would be: “Who cares?” They have steady work and, for most of them, it is all indoors with no heavy lifting. And they practically have to commit a felony to get fired.Read more
Worry not about the tens of thousands of Syrians that Barack Obama plans to invite to take up residence here. Secretary of State Kerry assures us that the vetting process to screen out the bad guys will be thorough. Alas, Michael Steinbach, assistant director of counterterrorism of the F.B.I. told a House committee that Syria lacked the systems that would provide us with the information we need to evaluate refugees. Kerry is unworried, for two reasons.Read more
Something has gotten into Ted Cruz. The Republican senator is known as a conservative firebrand willing to take on his own party, but in a Thursday meeting with reporters in his Capitol Hill office, Cruz was sounding almost ecumenical. Maybe it was the presence of Pope Francis.Read more
Traditional marriage is in big trouble in the United States. Between 1960 and 2011, the share of white adults 18 and older who were married declined by 25 percent, while the declines for Hispanic and black adults were 35 percent and 50 percent respectively.Read more
“We have already cut defense … about 30 percent over the last 10 years, and we’re still at war. We’re actively involved on multiple continents in real combat operations. We should not be drastically reducing our troop levels.”Read more
In the midst of revelations about a massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency awarded a $4.3 million two-month contract extension to Northrop Grumman for the OPM's Data Warehouse Program (DWP).Read more
The government doesn’t seem to have many good days, these days. If it isn’t a vast hacking of its employees’ personal information by, presumably, the Chinese, then it is the revelation that the people who are supposed to keep air travel safe, the crack agents of the TSA, missed some 95 percent of the dummy bombs that a task force attempted to slip by them in a recent test. Ninety-five percent.Read more
I'm not sure what the great political philosopher Leo Strauss would have thought of the Internet (he was a skeptic about progress, but also a skeptic about reaction). I personally think he would have appreciated aspects of it. Perhaps he would have even written an essay on "Persecution and the Art of Tweeting." Or not.Read more
Speaking Tuesday at the 45th Annual Washington Conference of the Council of the Americas, Secretary of State John Kerry said that "countries are far more likely to advance economically and socially when citizens have faith in their governments and are able to rely on them for justice and equal treatment under the law." Kerry said that a "new kind of relationship" with Latin American countries, emphasizing democracy and human rights, will contribute to "our common agRead more
The inspector general of the State Department confirmed today in Senate testimony that the State Department network at some point was hacked. He made the comments in response to a question from Georgia senator David Perdue.
Perdue asked, “Do you have evidence that the State Department’s network has been attacked, and does that affect you guys?”Read more
The U.S. State Department is looking to design and facilitate a media ethics course for journalists in India, and has even proposed appropriating the name of Robin Thicke's 2013 hit "Blurred Lines" as a title for the course. The U.S.Read more
The system of federal and state "exchanges" or "marketplaces" that offer health insurance through the Affordable Care Act lean heavily on "navigators" to guide consumers in their choices.Read more
Since Politico, a politics-focused website and newspaper, launched its subscription-based news service Politico Pro in 2011, government agencies have increasingly turned to the service to keep abreast of the latest developments in their spheres of policy. Government records show fiscal year 2011 contracts with the owner of Politico, Capitol News Company, totaling $41,900.Read more
Senator Chuck Grassley has sent two letters to the State Department to ask about Huma Abedin's special government status when she was a government employee--and for information on Abedin's email use while working for the government. Abedin is a close aide to Hillary Clinton, and worked for the consulting firm Teneo (under a special government employee status) while working for Clinton.Read more
We received this email from a 40-year veteran of the federal workforce, who raises serious questions about Hillary Clinton and her emails:
Since this story broke I have been wondering why "Conversion" has not entered the discussion. In my 40 years in government service, 20 as a senior supervisor, there has been an inviolable rule. One does not use Government resources for personal benefit, and one does not use private resources for Government benefit for personal convenience.Read more
Lost in much of the reporting about CPAC is that almost all of the likely presidential candidates—really, all of them, with the exception of Rand Paul—seemed to place themselves at the Reaganite hawkish-internationalist end of the foreign policy spectrum. The much-heralded return of Republican isolationism or anti-interventionism wasn’t much in evidence, except during Rand Paul's half hour on the stage.Read more
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