Hurricane holiday with Marlon Brando (?)

Disasters often mean the very worst, which is probably why they’re called disasters.

But they can also bring out the best in people both while they are going on, and even more so after the fact. Look at how individuals, charities, neighbors, local, state and the federal government are responding to victims of Hurricane Sandy. The cleanup and restoration will take a lot longer than the event itself.

Although we were braced for the worst, most of us in the D.C. area dodged the big bullet that hit coastal Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York big time.

Nonemergency feds here, in Baltimore and parts of New York, got Monday and Tuesday off. By Tuesday, many New Yorkers couldn’t get to work if they wanted to. Some who made it in couldn’t go home.


Thursday’s column was about how those of us who had to work Monday and Tuesday coped. The entire Federal News Radio crew made it in (some never went home). We had no casualties, although somebody ate somebody’s yogurt stored in our communal fridge and the closest Starbucks subbed decaf Americano for regular coffee. Life is tough.

So how did folks fare during the hurricane holiday? Here are some first-person accounts:

  • “…Sorry you had to drink decaf Americano. Watched Turner Classic Movies, a lot. Recovered from throwing my wife a surprise 60th birthday party for 50 people. Read some of The President’s Club by Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs. I tried to do my prison ministry (visit and discuss life and scripture) but they were closed, so it was just an hour in the car. I am a very boring guy. I can’t imagine you’d have any interest in that, but if you do, let me go by the initials DA. Later — D.A.
  • “…My normal telework day is Monday and because the weather folks and media started warning about how big/disastrous/Armageddon-like this storm might be, I took some extra cases (Request for Waiver of Erroneous Overpayment) home Friday (total of four) just in case my telework situation continued into Tuesday. You should know, in a good week, I can process one to two cases depending on how many interruptions, how many Classifications actions there are (those take priority) and how many customers call (they take a bigger priority). Well … while teleworking both Monday and Tuesday, I processed the entire batch of four … WOOOHOOOO! No interruptions, no Classification actions, no customer calls — just the occasional “worship the kitty” time for my Neo, a 23-pound black and white adorable cat that reminds me of Marlon Brando — don’t ask.

    “Anyway, all in all, it was great — I got four cases complete and ready for signature; my house and roof are intact; and my Neo still thinks I’m a Goddess — life is good!!!” — Dixie

  • “… I am a federal worker and got the two days off. But my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are in the private sector. He works construction. No work, no pay. He got both days off, but he won’t be paid for them. My sister-in-law’s small shop ran out of merchandise. She and the others were sent home, again with no pay.

    “I appreciate the decision to let us stay home. However I think more of us should be grateful that we got paid for staying home rather than complaining about having to come in to work on Wednesday.” — Made In The Shade

  • “It will be obvious what they were doing when, in nine months, all female children born will be named ‘Sandy.'” — Jeff K.

Tip Of The Hat Time To…

IRS’s Frank Keith, after a mere 37 years, is heading into retirement. He started as a taxpayer service rep in Providence and moved up into the senior leadership team in the 1990s. Commissioner Doug Shulman said Keith is the best of the best. Terry Lemons moves up to the top media job effective Monday. Nice going Frank!


By Jack Moore

In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, a San Diego criminal lawyer is warning that taking out one of the walking dead could result in criminal charges — for desecration of a corpse.

“A defense lawyer would most likely be able to fight the charges if you were acting in self defense, but if you killed the zombies when you were not in danger, you could be subject to charges,” according to the lawyer.

(Source: Mental Floss)


Lifecycle Funds down as October TSP returns dip
After months of solid numbers, most of the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan posted negative returns in October, including all of the Lifecycle (L) Funds.

Delayed software updates leave IRS computers prone to hackers, auditors say
Thousands of IRS computers could be prone to cyber intruders because officials aren’t updating software in a timely manner, according to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Postmaster General urges quick action in lame duck session
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says his number one priority is seeing legislation passed in the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress that will help the U.S. Postal Service get out of debt. In an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio, Donahoe details the latest on the agency’s financial situation, buyouts, the consolidation of mail processing centers, and its plan to cut window hours at half of its post offices across the country.

After Sandy, feds deploy all-hands-on-deck approach
After superstorm Sandy, the government is putting all hands on deck in response to the storm, providing on-the-ground assistance, federal funding and supplementing rescue and clean-up efforts. In a sign of the governmentwide response, President Barack Obama visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning with a slew of cabinet and agency officials in tow.