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Federal Employees News Digest : June 17, 2013
Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$39 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: email@example.com www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $39. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. June 17, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 47 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com journalism crop holds a dinner and roast. It is the Gridiron Club. It's the elite of the elite (by now you've guessed I'm not a member) of our huge media community. They have a dinner, and various well- known (smart and talented, too) people put on skits. I've seen some of them on film. While the audiences find these folks hysterical---nothing funnier than seeing a macho colleague in drag or singing a revised grand opera pun---the films I've seen were, well, not so much. I think it would help if some alcohol were involved in the viewing, but when sober in the light of day, they just weren't funny. The politicians are usually better because, well, they have better writers than the professional writers do. A cardinal rule of comedy, I would think, is that comedy should actually be funny. Which the GSA and IRS videos weren't. Maybe you had to be there. Many of the political talk shows today---left and right---started out as comedy shows. But the stars are so angry and uptight that the poor audience has to be told when something is funny, so they can laugh and or applaud. Otherwise they don't know that what their hero said was funny. I once talked with a psychologist who said she had learned one key thing in all her years of practice. She said we Americans will often tell a professional, or even a stranger on a plane, some very personal stuff. We will admit that our marriage is failure and that it is largely our fault. Or that our kids have been a real disappointment, again mostly our fault. Or that we are lousy when it comes to managing money, or have a gambling or booze problem. But nobody, she said, ever told her (or admitted) that they didn't have a sense of humor. As far as she is concerned, every- body---whatever other shortcomings we may acknowledge---thinks he or she has a good sense of humor. But I'm not sure everybody does. Or has much of one, anyway. Or maybe some people just have a very low laugh threshold. Nonetheless, the "humorous" videos in question here, whether by the party animals at IRS or the wild bunch at GSA, may not be very good or funny, but they will, trust me, have a long shelf life. They will become part of a bad memory that the public, press and politicians will tap over and over again. For a long, long time. Right now it is hard to keep track of which "scandals" are what. Which ones are really bad, or not. Who the good guys are (if any). And what is next. We've gone from ATF's Fast and-Furious, to the IRS tea party issues, to Justice's interest in media contacts, and now to a private contractor (and former CIA worker) who is holed up in an expensive Hong Kong hotel while he explains why he told the Washington Post and Britain's Guardian about the National Security Agency tap- ping into phone and e-mail accounts. While this latest fellow may have been a brilliant employee, his knowledge of geography may be a little old. Under the Brits, Hong Kong was once one of Asia's private-sector jewels. But now it is part of China. And while it has much autonomy, it is still part of China, our new best- friend-or-maybe-not in the world. One of the things President Obama discussed recently with the new Chinese leader was, uh, hacking. Us on them and them on us. Right now this is the scandal du jour. And it will probably get a lot bigger before it too fades away. Five years from now most of us will be hard-pressed to remember the details of many of them. Most members of the public, already numb from round-the- clock news and distracted by instant mes- saging and texting, won't remember most of them. But if you mention the GSA or the IRS videos, their memory banks will clear, their eyes will light up and they will remember all those silly government workers making silly funny videos (that weren't very funny) using taxpayer money. Because stupidity is forever. INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1
June 10, 2013
June 24, 2013