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Who really believes this to be a good idea?

Politicians, especially those who know they have no chance of winning their party's nomination, may say things and make proposals that are unlikely to become real. In today's news, a former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, announced a bid for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

Beware the stick man

In argumentation, one famous form is known as the "stick man." This is an argument where an often simple scenario is laid out and then easily knocked down by the proponent of the opposing view. Hence, the name stick man, because the argument topples over as easy as a stick man would.

Bill would block some future Department of Defense furloughs

Lawmakers are currently considering protecting some U.S. Department of Defense employees from future furloughs. Legislation that was introduced earlier this month would ban the DoD from furloughing those employees whose salaries are paid out of working capital funds. The argument for this reform is that fees and various charges--rather than the appropriations process--pays the salaries of these workers, and thus furloughing them does not result in any budgetary savings.

Federal employees cannot comment on no comment order

This week, the federal government teeters on the edge of shutdown, due the Congresses' inability to complete a continuing resolution to fund the government. Federal employees yet again face the loss of income, in addition to disruptive nature of having to stop doing their jobs for an indefinite period. One additional employee right affected with this government shutdown is the right to speak about the shutdown.

TSA's lacks consistent employee discipline process

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has had a 26 percent increase in misconduct over the last two year. The finding was reported by the General Accountability Office (GAO), the agency responsible for oversight of much of what goes on in federal agencies.

Federal subcontractors now have whistleblower protections

A general consensus exists that society should encourage people to speak up when they see others breaking the law. As such, lawmakers have passed various pieces of legislation protecting those who act as whistleblowers on others' wrongdoings. The 2013 Defense Authorization Act went into effect on July 1, 2013, and as part of the DAA, Congress extended legal protections for whistleblowers that already exist for federal employees to those who work for Department of Defense as subcontractors.

Federal employees could be fired for silence?

In the ongoing Internal Revenue Service "scandal," one IRS official, Lois Lerner, refused to answer questions in front of a Congressional committee. More precisely, she invoked her Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions that could be self-incriminating. A representative decided this should not be allowed, and has proposed legislation that would make invoking the Fifth Amendment grounds for immediate termination of any federal employee.

NLRB nominees approved by Senate committee

Last week, a Senate committee voted to approve five nominees for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB has been in a holding pattern since an Court of Appeal's decision ruled that President Obama lacked the authority to make certain recess appointments to the board.

VA claims processing office described as "toxic"

Many government agencies are struggling with hiring and pay freezes, increased workloads, budget cuts and the effects of the sequestration. The constant mantra seems to be do more with less. Doing more with less, however, comes with a cost, and this cost if often borne by employees, either directly, like pay cuts and furloughs, or indirectly by pressure and harassment by management and supervisors.

Large numbers of federal employees want to leave current job

Many federal employees are feeling under attack. The never-ending series of budget "crises" and the unrelenting negative publicity aimed at federal employees becomes demoralizing to the average worker just trying to do their job. The sequestration, pay freezes, budget cuts and the incipient furloughs add to the oppressive environment that many workers inhabit.

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