How do you know for sure when your country and state are descending into idiocracy? When your government starts misspelling the street signs.
Leesburg Pike is one of the longest and most prominent streets in Fairfax County. It represents a major stretch of Route 7, which has its own insanely detailed Wikipedia page. And it's named for the largest incorporated town in Virginia - you guessed it, Leesburg.
So, it's not a name that you'd expect our government to muck up. But the photographic evidence above suggests otherwise, on a portion of Route 7 in the Falls Church area near Seven Corners. Now apparently renamed "Leeseburg Pike." A block away from where Fairfax County is locating a new public school.
Education -- it's worth investing in!
Had enough of the brain-dead "debate" over government in Washington? Well, Aneesh Chopra -- President Obama's former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and a 2013 candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor -- has some actual new ideas to offer.
In his new book, Innovative State, Chopra paints a picture of government on the model of a sleek, high tech startup, engaging citizens and solving problems by opening access to information and finding innovative new ways to meet our highest goals.
Progressives recognize the need for government to help citizens build and maintain a civilized society. But to be effective, we have to push our governments to keep up with the speed, efficiency and challenges of the Internet Era. As Chopra puts it:
Americans have always understood that government is not some sacred entity with which the people should not tamper. It is a tool. Like other tools, it needs to be revised and upgraded to remain useful.
As he notes, America's founders junked their first attempt at self-government -- the Articles of Confederation -- after only 8 years when it proved inadequate. Why cling to outdated and inadequate government models today?
So, let's get this straight: this is "all about jobs," even though Republicans shutting down the government will cause hundreds of thousands of federal workers to be furloughed, will harm the economic recovery, and will cause jobs to be lost. Also, this is simultaneously "all about jobs" but also about "important policy riders" like funding for women's health services through Planned Parenthood -- a miniscule amount of money, by the way, with almost none of that money going towards abortion services. How does any of that have anything to do with "jobs?" Who the heck knows. Finally, how does cutting non-defense discretionary spending, which makes up a tiny portion of the federal budget and which has NOTHING to do with the long-term, structural deficit, have anything to do with "jobs?" Answer: it doesn't have anything to do with jobs. Period.
The utter intellectual incoherence of the Republican't Party and its affiliated Tea Partier wingnut wing on full display for all to see. What a sight to behold, huh?
...A shutdown could last several weeks and have a "severe impact" on the local economy, Moran warned.So there you have it; Republicans playing Russian Roulette with the country's finances, with the nation's fragile economic recovery, and with the lives (and finances) of hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families. They must be so proud of themselves, especially when Democrats have already agreed to their initial (prior to a Tea Party rebellion) target for cuts to the budget in the current fiscal year. Vandals? Huns? Visigoths? What's the appropriate historical analogue to today's Republican Party?
"This is very, very, serious," Moran said. "Federal employees need to understand that this is not 1995, when we closed down... and [employees] were fully reimbursed."
"About a million federal employees will not be working, and it is highly unlikely they will ever be reimbursed," Moran continued. "Not only is this going to hurt the overall economy in the metropolitan Washington area that I represent, but it is going to have a very severe impact on employee's abilities to make their mortgage payments, their car payments, etc."
"Every private sector element in my district's economy is going to be adversely affected," Moran added.
P.S. I presume that Bob McDonnell is busy urging his Republican Party colleagues in Congress not to harm Virginia's economy? Right?!?
UPDATE: Rep. Moran will be holding an emergency meeting from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at Francis C Hammond Middle School in Alexandria (4646 Seminary Road).
UPDATE #2: Of course, House Republicans will make sure that THEY get paid! Unbelievable. Total hypocrisy.
You've got to hand it to the Repubs - they never miss an opportunity to push their agenda as far as (in)humanly possible. So, no surprise that they are using the current obsession with the deficit to simultaneously turn government workers into scapegoats and crush unions through a divide-and-conquer strategy aimed at creating tensions between public and private sector employees. Strategically brilliant - and utterly callous and cynical - as usual.
One of the many disturbing things about this fight is the fact that neither Repubs or Dems - nor anyone else - is talking about what really needs to be done to make our government work more cost-effectively and efficiently. Based on my own experiences working in government, there are two fundamental, but fixable, problems that cause the most waste in the public sector:
* Spectacularly lousy management, and
* The failure to reward the best performers and get rid of the worst.
So, while the Republican effort to demonize public employees, and take away their rights to defend themselves through collective bargaining, is wrong-headed, verging on evil, the appropriate Democrat response would not be to say that government and such unions, are right on all particulars, and have nothing that needs to be fixed. In my experience, the problem with such unions is that they tend to treat all employees equally and therefore treat proposals for merit pay and attempts to make it easier to get rid of dead wood with undue suspicion.