Furlough Journal: Not with a bang, but a whimper


A few unexpected days off from work means…time on the golf course, of course, and yesterday I had finally gotten past practice time and was enjoying my first round of golf in a month.  Between the 11th green and the 12th tee I got a text message from someone at work with the news bulletin that the president had agreed to end the partial government shutdown for three weeks.  Enjoy these last seven holes, pal.

I’ve got to say that the first thing that came to my mind was to assume a less-than-altruistic motive on the president’s part.  Rather than his finally recognizing the unnecessary hardship he had visited upon hundreds of thousands of civil servants and government contractors and making the decision to release the hostages while negotiating for his border wall, I was ready to bet that we’d find out Mr. Trump had said something on the order of, “OK, now I’ve opened the government so I’m on TV on Tuesday with the State of the Union, right?”  That might still turn out to be the determining factor…right along with the inconvenience of restricting air traffic in New York because of a shortage of air traffic controllers, or any one of a list of calls from people within government to end the madness, to the growing embarrassment caused by members of the administration showing off their unimagined levels of lack of understanding of what it’s like to be non-rich and miss a paycheck.  Or two.

In any case, I’ve received official word from my boss that we’re to return to work Monday at the regular time.  The deal in Washington is just for three weeks to allow negotiation on border security, and provides back pay for the civil servants who have missed two paychecks (so far)…compensation to the companies holding contracts with the government which didn’t get promised payments will apparently have to come in subsequent legislation, if it comes at all.  It seems to me that the president is setting the stage to declare a national emergency three weeks from now if an agreeable compromise is not reached, rather than closing the government again at that juncture.   (Just wondering, how can we reasonably call the situation at the border now an “emergency” if we’ve waited the last five weeks, and perhaps three more weeks to come, to declare it so?)  We’ll see what happens.

JPEG imageA few things I’ve learned during this “vacation”: the phone at our house never stops ringing all day; my beard is greyer than it was;

and my new iPad can do tricks!

JPEG image 2JPEG image 5JPEG image 4JPEG image 3

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