What Kind of Fuckery is This?

The USDA is moving 547 researcher jobs to Kansas City — and only 145 of the existing jobholders were willing to relocate:

The agriculture department has argued that moving to Kansas City will put researchers closer to farmers and drastically reduce expenses given the Midwest’s relatively lower cost of living.

But many scientists — including the Union of Concerned Scientists — suspect that USDA’s relocation is meant to diminish USDA research.

The Milwaukee-based Agricultural and Applied Economic Association predicted the move could cost U.S. taxpayers upward of $182 million in lost productivity and research capacity.

And Tuesday’s letter from Democrats claims that it could take as long as two years to build out new office space in Kansas City.

Hundreds of Bureau of Land Management jobs are being moved to Colorado and other offices in the West.  Senator Cory Gardner, who is in big trouble in what’s now at least a purple, if not blue state, pushed for that.  The last BLM move didn’t go so well:

“The agency did not comply with legal requirements; ignored regulatory guidance; and had no documented plan, methodology, or real business case that justified their actions,” the [BLM executive] organization said at the time.

Just more disruption and stupidity running under the radar of Trump’s noise making machinery.  I wonder what else they will fuck up in the next year and a half.






93 replies
  1. 1
    SFAW says:

    “Fucking up” means they’re executing their plan shittily. They’re not. Just because they publish a “reason” for something, it doesn’t mean it’s the actual reason.

    In the end, cruelty — however they get there, whether it be wiping out regulatory agencies, killing regulations, overtly or covertly harming non-whites and poors — is the goal/reason.

    ETA: And, thanks to Gin & Tonic’s link to the $700 power cord, I now get that company as a sidebar ad.
    большое спасибо, G & T

  2. 2
    SFAW says:

    Previous comment in jail due to Cyrillic characters, I assume?

  3. 3
    Spanky says:

    SATSQ, more or less. The normal fuckery one would expect to see of a President/Administration who has set out to destroy the federal government from within.

    But we knew that already.

    Can’t wait until they come for NASA.

  4. 4
    waspuppet says:

    The agriculture department has argued that moving to Kansas City will put researchers closer to farmers …

    I am not the first to point out that under this logic the Department of Defense should be moved to Kabul.

    I also wonder whether Sonny Perdue himself will move out there. Oh wait, no I don’t really.

  5. 5
    Spanky says:

    @waspuppet: One could argue (but I hope they don’t) that farmers are everywhere and that the geographic center of CONUS is somewhere within it. (This definition of CONUS excludes Alaska).

    Sure! Go ahead and make the argument that by that logic ALL of the Federal govt should move there. Wouldn’t surprise me if some higher up is just waiting for such an argument.

  6. 6
    I'll be Frank says:

    All to distract from the fact that the Pres is a Russian asset

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    Just more disruption and stupidity running under the radar of Trump’s noise making machinery.

    Not stupidity. Part of the agenda to shrink the government.

    And this administration is at best indifferent, at worst, hostile to science. They don’t care about disruption or negative impact on operations.

  8. 8
    Suzanne says:

    I’m shocked that as many as 145 researchers were willing to relocate to Kansas City. If you’re trying to entice people who live in a world-class city like DC to move to a second-tier city, you’ll likely have to really put a lot of resources into making that worthwhile. Like jobs or pay for spouses, housing bonuses, etc.

  9. 9
    KenB says:

    Let me see if I get this right. A Republican pol who’s worried about his territory turning bluer and is putting his job in danger decides that the solution is to force a bunch of government employees that are likely more liberal than his native voters to move into his territory, and as a bonus, wants to do it in a way that’s best calculated to make those new voters want to hit something with a baseball bat whenever they hear he word ‘Republican.’

    Am I missing something, or are they?

  10. 10

    @Suzanne: Spousal jobs are a big deal. Mr DAW used to work for John Deere in Iowa, and they knocked themselves out for spouses when they were trying to recruit graduate level engineers.

  11. 11
    chris says:

    Well of course they are! Sounds like a lot of the people will quit which is a win win win! The remaining experts will be out of sight and out of mind in much cheaper quarters and there be a whole lot less talk of globull warming. MAGA

  12. 12
    Gravenstone says:

    @Spanky:

    Can’t wait until they come for NASA.

    They already pushed out the head of human exploration because he wasn’t making enough progress on Trump’s pipe dream return to the Moon.

  13. 13
    tokyokie says:

    Japanese shōguns would sometimes move their capital so that daimyōs competing for influence would have to build lavish palaces in someplace like Kamakura, in addition to the ones they were maintaining in Osaka (to influence the emperor) and their home regions. The shōguns figured that if would-be challengers were having to spend all their money maintaining estates, they wouldn’t have nearly as much to spend on their militaries. So I can see the sense of it in that regard, but in the world of today, the additional expense of opening and staffing a new lobbying office for the likes of Archer Daniels Midland is inconsequential.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    Kansas City in Kansas, or Kansas City in Missouri? Because one of them is somewhat less of a shithole than the other.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Maddow has been on this story. They don’t even have a building for the scientists to work in in Kansas.

  16. 16
    Ruckus says:

    What will they fuck up is everyfuckingthing.
    It is their calling in life.
    They must be good at it, look who they hired as their spokesmodel.

  17. 17
    Suzanne says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: For sure. Mr. Suzanne and I want to move in the next 2 years or so, and our relocation targets are severely limited by where we can both get good jobs, as we would both like to increase our earning potential and we each are somewhat specialized. My MIL wants us to move near where she lives, in rural NW Arkansas, but she doesn’t understand that neither of us would ever consider it (even if we liked it), because we can’t work there. And most of our friend cohort are in similar positions. If someone offered him a job in someplace like Kansas City, they would have to expect to provide some serious benefits.

  18. 18
    Kylroy says:

    “The agriculture department has argued that moving to Kansas City will put researchers closer to farmers and drastically reduce expenses given the Midwest’s relatively lower cost of living.”

    As opposed to it’s current location in a coastal city far from agriculture, *MILWAUKEE*.

  19. 19
    skerry says:

    @Suzanne: Also, tax law now treats moving expenses as income. No longer a deduction.

  20. 20
    NCSteve says:

    We need to be clear that the source of this fuckery is Mulveney. Trump could care less and it doesn’t involve inflicting suffering on powerless people so Miller couldn’t care less.

  21. 21
    Aleta says:

    From WCIA.com. (They broke this story Jul 16. The next day (today) Durbin announced that response to the story had “given her pause.” )

    Sharon Durbin, President and Chief Executive Officer at Land of Lincoln Goodwill, told dozens of disabled thrift store workers they would no longer receive a paycheck as a result of the state’s new minimum wage increase, and she warns future job cuts could still be coming to the last 11 remaining disabled employees still on the payroll. Durbin runs the Central Illinois nonprofit branch that oversees 15 retail locations and more than 450 total employees. …

    Inside one of Springfield’s retail locations, a massive wall painting says, “DONATE STUFF. CREATE JOBS.” The loud speaker broadcasts a message that reminds shoppers, “At Goodwill, every item you buy, and every item you donate funds job training and so much more.” Literature hanging in the lobby announces that “we train and support over 1,000 people with developmental disabilities.”

    The state legislature awarded a 3.5% funding increase in the current state budget to help fund the job trainers and skills coaches who work with the disabled employees. In previous years, lawmakers required the entire increase in state funding to go toward staff raises. This year, the non-profit vendors were allowed discretion to use the increase however they see fit. But the thrift shop organization said it had not yet awarded pay raises to staff, and that the extra funding was not enough to offset a higher payroll burden due to the pending minimum wage increase.

    (Durbin wrote) “As of January 1, 2020, a new minimum wage law takes effect … “That means that many of our clients will no longer be working to receive a paycheck, but will be involved in some type of learning based initiative,”

    Loni Braun, whose 28-year-old autistic son Nick worked for Goodwill location on Wabash Street, called the non-profit’s decision “an atrocity.” “My son has worked for Goodwill for six years,” she said. “He started at $8.25. He left at $8.25. So he has never had a raise. The minimum wage is going to go up I believe a quarter, but not until January. So they are not raising it to the $15 until the year 2025.”
    Braun says she pleaded with the thrift store to keep her son on the payroll, and wondered, “Why can’t they just say, ‘OK, can you guys just keep agreeing to work for $8 and a quarter?’”

    Goodwill is certified with the U.S. Department of Labor with sub-minimum wage approval. Because they hire disabled workers, they have special permission to pay them below the minimum wage. Durbin acknowledged that her group already pays the sub-minimum rate for 27 of 50 disabled workers, however, inexplicably, she says the nonprofit is “progressing away from that.”

    “I miss doing it,” Nick said Monday. “I wish they would not have done this to me. I’ve been here for six years and never got a pay raise. We were all crying when some people left and you know, it’s really, really… I want my job back. It’s heartbreaking.”

    Durbin’s son, Brian Durbin, was hired onto the Executive Leadership team and makes an annual salary of $95,747 at the nonprofit.

    Durbin … explained that disabled workers are not always as efficient or as productive as a traditional employee, and the extra time and labor it takes to train and correct the mistakes of the disabled workers costs more money.

    “It really was not a job,” she said. “It was a work component and through it we gave them through grace out of our budget to pay them so they had a paycheck to go home with.”

    Braun, who describes his experience at Goodwill as his dream job, disputed Durbin’s characterization of his abilities. He says his managers told him he was “very high functioning” and “said they wished they had ten more of me.”

    Keeping disabled workers on the payroll also helps Goodwill qualify for state janitorial contracts. In 2018, the state awarded the nonprofit $384,953 in grants and contracts specifically set aside for a “person with severe disabilities.”

    “They say it is to help our mission,” Braun’s mother said. … They have gotten rid of most of the people with disabilities. What are they doing with all those donations?”

    Durbin … warned the higher wage floor would set off a “domino effect” of jobless claims around the state.” “It is going to impact us all,” she said. “Gas prices are going to rise, grocery prices are going to rise. Jobs are going to be lost. Look at your Wal-Mart, your Meijers, your Schnucks. They are doing away with real people checking you out and they are doing more to go in the line of automation. Why is that? Because they don’t want — or can’t afford in their business model — to start paying everyone who walks in the door $15 an hour. They can’t. So what are they going to do? They start eliminating jobs, because that is the first line of defense.”

    Durbin called on (Gov.) Pritzker to use his executive authority to halt the roll out of the minimum wage floor.

    “The governor can make anything happen,” she said. “If he’s a governor –which I hope he is — that truly is listening to the people that he serves, because he is a servant, then he will stop and say, ‘Wait a minute, I did not realize I was doing this to people with disabilities, and I didn’t realize it was going to cripple our businesses out there.’”

    It’s unclear how the governor could enact such a change without prior approval from the General Assembly.

  22. 22
    SFAW says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Kansas City in Kansas, or Kansas City in Missouri?

    No, Kansas City in Westphalia. It’s near Basingstoke.

  23. 23
    Waynski says:

    @Brachiator:

    Not stupidity. Part of the agenda to shrink the government.

    Ding. Ding. Ding. You know it’s not like Grand Junction is in France, but it’s on the Western slope. They have a small airport (used mostly by rich skiers). You likely have to make a connection at a larger airport to get where you need to go, raising travel costs.

    Next up after the move, “You government pinheads and moochers are spending too much on AIRFARE!” I’m cutting your budget!

  24. 24
  25. 25
    ET says:

    Oh yest this has been talked about in DC for while. I hadn’t seen the number of how many they were going to be loosing. I suspect that is a bigger number than even they suspected. I feel bad for those willing to relocate because they will have to be picking up the slack because the work will still be expected to be done.

    Oh yes they think it will save money (DC land $$$) but also in salaries. They will find however, that the work still needs to be done and there is no one left to do it. I suspect they will also find it a bit harder to attract workers going forward and the work still will need to get done. Until the decision is made that more than half of the USDAs work load doesn’t need to be done they are all screwed.

    Many may think government is too big it does too much, but many people – including those in business – rely on the data.

  26. 26
    Martin says:

    @ET: Has nothing to do with saving money. Has everything to do with having fewer scientists studying climate change.

  27. 27
    TenguPhule says:

    @ET:

    Until the decision is made that more than half of the USDAs work load doesn’t need to be done they are all screwed.

    They’re outsourcing inspections to the food producers. Self-policing.

    This is not a joke.

  28. 28

    @rikyrah: If they don’t even have a building, then it’s possible this won’t happen. It could stop because Trump forgets about it or they get busy with some other evil.

    The new FBI building was stopped because Trump decided he could make money off leaving it where it was. Though I suppose that’s an example of govt employees working where their target is, in this case, criminals.

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Aleta:

    This is why I don’t shop at or donate to Goodwill. They are very sketchy and always have been. A friend of mine worked for them briefly on the marketing side and got the eff out as soon as she could.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SFAW:

    East Basingstoke or West Basingstoke?

  31. 31
    Gravenstone says:

    @Aleta:

    Durbin announced that response to the story had “given her pause.”

    It should be giving her a spot on line at Unemployment. Fuck that bullshit rationalizing of hers as to why the disabled employees make less.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kylroy:

    Ah, I may see the other problem. There are lots of Black people in Milwaukee, and some of them are probably employees. Can’t have Black scientists supervising white techs in Trump’s Amerikkka!

  33. 33
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    KCMO, I’m sure.

    My first ever paying job was at USDA, Meat and Poultry Inspection, in KCMO (in an office).

    You get to read about what the acceptable levels of insect parts are.

  34. 34
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    KCMO has plenty of black people too. It’s probably some other sort of corruption.

  35. 35
    zhena gogolia says:

    @rikyrah:

    THEY’RE MOVING TO KANSAS CITY, KANSAS? There’s nothing there!

  36. 36
    dww44 says:

    @rikyrah: Yes, she has. And the real reason behind it it is to gut the pro climate change scientists who work in this department. All of this is more than maddening; it’s another nail in the coffin of American government pre-eminence in scientific research. One MORE reason we have to take control of the federal government, at all levels, in 2020 and hopefully reconstitute some of these government agencies (Warren has a plan for reconstituting the State Department;maybe she or others can now create one for the Agriculture dept). I want to both spit and cry with despair with this move.

  37. 37
    Another Scott says:

    @Spanky: St. Louis hosts convention in 1869 in pitch to become US Capital.

    Yup, people have proposed it before…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  38. 38
    zhena gogolia says:

    Milwaukee has nothing to do with it. They’re moving from DC. From the linked article:

    USDA is looking for about 115,000 square feet of office space on either side of the state line.

    Meanwhile they’ll be in temporary office space near Swope Park. An African-American neighborhood. I don’t know what’s going on here.

  39. 39
    The Dangerman says:

    547 researcher jobs to Kansas City — and only 145 of the existing jobholders were willing to relocate:

    So, 402 new jobs in Kansas City, in a redder area than DC. It’s nothing more than fucking blue voting states and districts; as a Californian, we’re used to this shit (but we are still waiting for our rakes to clean the forests).

    If this means there is a fire sale on any property in DC, well, so much the better for a developer like Trump.

  40. 40
    zhena gogolia says:

    @The Dangerman:

    I’d be surprised if Kansas City proper (MO or KS) were red. But I haven’t kept up.

  41. 41
    boatboy_srq says:

    This plan pushes qualified researchers out of the USDA quite effectively.

    Looks like a success for them.

    One more reason to either vote early/often or build tumbrels and sharpen guillotines.

  42. 42
    boatboy_srq says:

    @The Dangerman: Outside USDA Rural Development in Richmond, those jobs are in DC or MD. VA has minimal exposure. So, scr3wing a blue state, Big Gummint, public science and Those People° all at once.

  43. 43
    oatler. says:

    The administration has devolved into a virus. It’s science, people!

  44. 44
    Librarian says:

    @SFAW: Anything goes in, anything goes out/Fish, bananas, old pajamas, mutton, beef and trout

  45. 45
    SFAW says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    East Basingstoke or West Basingstoke?

    Equidistant.

  46. 46
    SFAW says:

    @Librarian:
    Didn’t Cole Porter write that?

  47. 47
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    THEY’RE MOVING TO KANSAS CITY, KANSAS? There’s nothing there!

    Will Parker begs to differ.

  48. 48
    boatboy_srq says:

    @KenB: What you’re missing is the number of Deep Blue Scientists who will leave USDA because they will fare better in the private sector, and who have greater adhesion to their current locales than the incentive to relocate can overcome. The goal is not to make KS bluer, it’a to depopulate an inconvenient federal bureau by sticking it in RedLand.

  49. 49

    @Mnemosyne: There’s no practical difference. They’re right next door to each other. If I had to guess, they’ll probably go for Overland Park, which is a suburban office building sprawl on the KS side.

  50. 50
    TenguPhule says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    You get to read about what the acceptable levels of insect parts are.

    2 grasshopper parts per bushel in every pot!

  51. 51
    Librarian says:

    @SFAW: The Cole Porter who wrote Anything Goes, not the one who wrote Kiss Me Kate.

  52. 52
    jl says:

    @Martin: If they really move the USDA climate scientists out closer to the farmers, then the farmers can tell them about the effects of climate change first hand.

  53. 53
    walden says:

    The govt has not even determined whether the office space will be in KC Kansas or KC Missouri… So even if the families uproot themselves and get to the KC metropolitan area by mid-August so they can enroll kids in school, look for apartments, homes, put DC home on the market — they don’t have any idea where to locate.
    You could pick a home and school district in KC Missouri and end up commuting to an office park in the far distant exurbs of KC Kansas. Or try to live in motels while the family is back in DC for a year.

  54. 54
    dww44 says:

    @jl: Is this snark? I certainly hope so.

  55. 55
    Mandalay says:

    Perhaps the plans of Kris “Loser Stink” Kobach might be relevant:

    On July 8, 2019, Kobach launched his 2020 campaign for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Kansas Senator Pat Roberts and implied he had the support of President Donald Trump.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @TenguPhule:

    They’re outsourcing inspections to the food producers. Self-policing.

    This is not a joke.

    Didn’t they do something similar with Boeing and aircraft inspections?

  57. 57
    kindness says:

    If there were a Department of Conservative Voices & Religions I would support moving that department to SF or NYC.

  58. 58

    @The Dangerman:

    we are still waiting for our rakes to clean the forests

    Don’t forget about the ones for rocks to prevent earthquakes.

  59. 59
    pat says:

    I see this as blatant sabotage, especially of climate research.
    In these days of instantaneous internet connectivity, getting “close to the farmers” in a large city in the middle of the country is just a made-up excuse.

  60. 60
    FlyingToaster (Tablet) says:

    Oddly enough, there was a private concern in this field — Midwest Research Institute — in KCMO when I was growing up.

    Both KCK and KCMO are blue (Davids & Cleaver), so who the fuck knows what they were thinking.

  61. 61

    @TenguPhule: One of my uncles used to brew dandelion wine out in the shed. He’d put a screen over the tub to keep the grasshoppers out, but their legs often wound up getting through the screen and into the wine. I was a kid at the time, so no one ever offered the stuff to me, thank god.

  62. 62
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator:

    Didn’t they do something similar with Boeing and aircraft inspections?

    They did. And we all know how well that worked out.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Michael Cain says:

    @Another Scott:

    St. Louis hosts convention in 1869 in pitch to become US Capital.

    Since they’ll have to have a new federal district (Article I, Section 8, Clause 17) I always suggest North Platte, NE. They can buy 100 square miles cheap and drop a few billion to build an airport, an executive mansion, and a building for Congress with enough room to increase the number of House seats. Put in some nice apartment blocks for the Congress critters. It will also incent Congress to convene in January, finish up their business by June or so, and go home. Less time for them to be up to mischief :^)

  65. 65
    TenguPhule says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: It could have been worse.

    There are FDA standards for acceptable levels of rat droppings in food.

  66. 66
    Jay says:

    It’s an old Conservative con,

    Decentralization of the Goberment,…….

    Quite naturally, Administration/Research departments of Government Organizations cluster near the Legislative Center and other Admin/Research Orgs they cooperate with.

    The Con Theory, (and it is a con) is that these agencies then become “unrepresentive” of their universal “mandate” and instead, become “beholden” to the Legislative Center.

    The BC Liberals, ( who arn’t liberal) did this 20 years ago. Government Services and Research never recovered, and instead, became dominated by Industry/University For Profit research, services and administration.

    So cutting limits for Forestry in my region is decided by a TRU/Forsite/Tolko, not the Ministry of Forests, and as a result, less that 20 years later, the Mills are closing down, because there is no remaining viable timber inventory, except on private land.

  67. 67
    TenguPhule says:

    Airline helpfully tweets advice on where on a plane you are least likely to die in a crash

    Sadly, not the Onion. Actual Wapo headline.

  68. 68
    cmorenc says:

    Most of the BLM jobs are being moved to Grand Junction – in a residual red part of Colorado, not the increasingly dominant blue areas. It’s doubtful that Cory Gardner is going to pick up many additional votes from this move that he wouldn’t have received anyways.

  69. 69

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: He should’ve been brewing beer. Always can use more hops.

  70. 70

    @Spanky:

    Can’t wait until they come for NASA.

    NASA will be mostly okay. It does not visibly enforce regulations on anyone else or be kind, and those are the two things Trump hates most about the government. Seriously, that guy has a raging hate on for regulations. One might think he’s been slapped down over and over by the government for discrimination, environmental, zoning, and building code violations.

  71. 71
    zhena gogolia says:

    @FlyingToaster (Tablet):

    I’d be very surprised if there were no professional scientists in the KC area any more.

  72. 72
  73. 73
    Colleeniem says:

    @Jay: Yep. My uncle retired early because of it.

  74. 74
    Scuffletuffle says:

    I have a serious problem with federal facilities being awarded to states who actively oppose been federally governed.

  75. 75
    Steeplejack says:

    As mentioned earlier today: “deconstruction of the administrative state.” – Steve Bannon.

  76. 76
    theflix says:

    In fairness, though nothing this administration does can be trusted, the idea of spreading some government offices around the country is not necessarily a bad idea in theory:

    https://www.vox.com/new-money/2016/12/9/13881712/move-government-to-midwest

  77. 77
    Jay says:

    @theflix:

    As I pointed out above, it’s as practical a theory as the Laffer Curve.

  78. 78
    Elie says:

    This is the only goal for Trum and his regime: destroy as much of the US government as possible That is all

  79. 79
    Michael Cain says:

    @cmorenc: It’s unlikely to have much effect except to cause a bunch of those particular people to quit. BLM already has >500 people at their National Operations Center in the Denver Federal Center. The Denver Post is reporting that of the 85 jobs moving from DC to Colorado, 58 will go to the existing BLM office in Lakewood (Denver suburb) and 27 to Grand Junction. The 27 will include BLM’s director, should Trump get around to appointing one.

  80. 80
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Another Scott: I recall reading a book in the late 1950s (it was probably written in the late 40s – early 50s) that promoted various measures to defend against nuclear war. One of them was to move the capital to somewhere near the two KCs so that bombers with nukes would have to travel father (& presumably face more defenses) to reach the central government. (Another was to disperse the population & productive capacities of cities so that a single bomb wouldn’t wipe everything out.) These notions (along with the infamous “duck & cover”) seem laughable to us, but at least they formed a basis for discussion – until multi-megaton H-bombs showed up & ruined every “civil defense” promoter’s day…

  81. 81
    VOR says:

    I’m currently reading “The Fifth Risk” by Micheal Lewis and am in the section on the USDA. The part I already read was about the complete and abject failure of the Trump Transition team to prepare.They had no idea what the Energy Department did. The USDA does all sorts of things – one character said they play a game where they name something and ask if the USDA does it.

    The USDA does a lot of research and collects a lot of facts. Climate Change is a big area of research because it changes the way agriculture works. Any gardener knows different plants are needed for different temperate zones. This move is almost certainly an attempt to kneecap the scientific research by encouraging the talent to leave. Companies do this all the time, move headquarters or offices so older and higher paid workers will leave the company. If they succeed in moving to KC, watch for another move in the near future, perhaps even back to DC.

  82. 82
    Ryan says:

    Well, the CRS scored the Trump tax Cut Cut Cut Act as a total failure. Why does Congress need a research arm anyway?

  83. 83
    m.j. says:

    Science Friday had a segment on gutting USDA research as presented by Politico back in June.Here’s the segment.
    Ira interviews an employee and acting vice-president of the union.

  84. 84
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Mnemosyne: Right now, Ohio Son is working with a job developer/coach from Goodwill, through a program funded by the state vocational rehab agency.

    The Goodwill staff is doing a better job than the developers/coaches from the other three agencies we’ve already burned through. Maybe Goodwill varies by region?

    The whole field of employment for disabled folks is screwy for many reasons, too many to list here.

    The big push right now is abandoning the sub-minimum wage and sheltered workshop approach and insisting on competitive employment for all — in an age where the number of lower-skilled competitive jobs is shrinking! That is good for some disabled and a disaster for others.

    I understand that Washington State has a new law requiring businesses to hire disabled people. That part of the equation is missing most other places.

  85. 85
    West of the Cascades says:

    As someone who sues the BLM on a regular basis, if you were starting from scratch having the BLM headquarters in the West would make a lot of sense. Dealing with BLM Washington Office is hideous, they seem to have absorbed a combination of the worst of BLM-bureaucracy with a layer of DC-swamp-bureaucracy. It’s always been easier to deal with BLM state offices or even individual districts in the West – far more responsive. But this seems to mostly be ratfuckery by the current administration. In a truly perfect world (again, starting from scratch), all federal public lands would be managed by Interior, without the national forests being managed by U.S. Department of Agriculture because trees are “crops.”

  86. 86
    George says:

    As an employee of a sister land management agency to the BLM, though within the Department of Agriculture, I’ll note that Secretary Sonny Perdue has been doing this sort of nickel-and-diming since he was confirmed.

    He has, for example, pushed for a “OneUSDA” approach to the department which has removed most of the individuality between agencies. To an outsider, that may sound somewhat more efficient, but much of the morale within the department came from having pride in one’s particular agency. Changing the email addresses for the agency’s employees, for example, was a logistical hassle that took a few attempts to finalize. It cost money and took time, and it gained the agency and the public absolutely nothing.

    Recently, the Forest Service lost use of “eSafety,” which was a website that facilitated reporting of safety issues and injuries. We now have to fill out paper forms, which we had gotten away from years ago. Perdue also severely limited the ability to telework, at least within the Forest Service.

    All of that might seem like minor stuff in isolation, but in times of continuing budget cuts, limits to training opportunities, forced relocations, and so forth, it all adds up to a concerted effort by the administration to destroy morale for government employees. The administration cannot fire government workers outright, but it can make working for the government enough of a hassle or a morale destroyer that people quit.

    As other commenters have noted, it is an attempt to shrink government using backdoor tactics.

  87. 87
    Michael Cain says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    Dealing with BLM Washington Office is hideous, they seem to have absorbed a combination of the worst of BLM-bureaucracy with a layer of DC-swamp-bureaucracy.

    When I worked for the state legislature in a western state, I was told — more than once — that the unofficial motto of the Western Governors Association was, “Do you know what those dickheads at BLM have done now?”

  88. 88
    jl says:

    @dww44: Yes. it is snark.

  89. 89
    J R in WV says:

    Senator Byrd (D-WVa) learned that the FBI had problems, not enough office space, hard to recruit workers in DC for the wages the FBI paid in the fingerprint bureau. So he appropriated funds for a large new FBI Fingerprint office, in Clarksburg, WV. Where the cost of living was a fraction of the cost of living in DC.

    Also not 1,500 miles away from home, more like a 4 hour drive to visit folks back home. Seems to have worked out, although I’m sure there was a lot of resistance back when he started this. Not the same thing Trump’s minions are doing. Senator Byrd believed in the good works of government.

  90. 90
    Gretchen says:

    @Mnemosyne: KCK and KCMO are adjacent. I live in the Kansas side KC suburbs.

  91. 91
    StringOnAStick says:

    An oil &gas lobbyist commented on the move of a few BLM employees yo Grand Junction. The quote was along the lines of “it’s better they are here so they can see how important oi l&gas is to the local economy, which means they wil issue more local drilling permits.

  92. 92
    Kent says:

    I worked for NOAA Fisheries (formerly NMFS) for over a decade in the DC office (actually Silver Spring MD) as well as in offices in both Seattle and Juneau AK.

    Most of the professional staff I worked with in DC were actually pretty desperate to get out to the “field” as they called it and land transfers to one of the regional offices which were located in: Woods Hole, Glouchester, Miami, St. Petersburg, La Jolla, Long Beach, Honolulu, Santa Rosa, Portland, Seattle, Juneau, and Anchorage. Conversely, they could never get regional office staff to ever voluntarily take permanent transfers to Silver Spring.

  93. 93
    Gretchen says:

    @zhena gogolia: kcmo and kcks are very blue. It’s the suburbs that are red.

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