Saturday, April 9, 2011

April Foolery

I left the office Friday evening having been given instructions on what to do and not do in the event of a government shutdown. No work after 6:00 pm until Monday morning, meaning no use of Blackberry or laptop. And no, I didn't get the DT's. Went to dinner with the news still looking pretty bleak, but by the time we were headIng home it appeared that a deal had been reached (as it was, with an hour and a half to spare). all just a prelude to the battles still to come.

No point recounting here how insane this all is, how little it has to do with the problems we face. For those of us just trying to do our jobs and to manage staff members trying to do theirs, all of this is feels like an unnecessary distraction. And it continues to be dispiriting that the public debate was all about who to blame for what seemed like an inevitable shutdown, with much heat but precious little light shed on how any of this is in the country's interest.

The deal apparently does mean that DC will not be able to use locally-raised tax revenue (ie, not from a Congressional appropriation) to provide abortions for poor women. It's strange enough living in a place without representation in Congress; now these folks who don't allow us any say in what our government does are telling us what we can spend our own money on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

March Madness

No, I don't mean the NCAA kind. We went home for Kate's spring break and headed up to Tahoe for a few day's skiing. What we found was more snow than I can remember seeing in the 30+ years we've been going up there. We had a couple of days of great powder skiing, light and fluffy, no Sierra cement--and then had to wait a day to go home until I-80 reopened.

We got back to a cold and rainy DC, but the cherry blossoms are an unmistakeable sign that Spring has arrived. Glorious symbols of the beauty and fragility of life, especially poignant this year after the earthquake and tsunami.

The madness that has been going on here shows no signs of letting up now that April is here. They're playing "chicken" over shutting down the government again--I never stop being amazed by how freely people claim to speak for "the American People" when what they really mean is "that portion of the American people who agree with me." I think it pays to remember that there are lots of folks out there who don't agree with one's own views on every issue--and they are Americans, too.

Meanwhile, the best example of March Madness that I came across is the member of Congress who, during an oversight hearing, compared the Affordable Care Act to Das Kapital.