Go figure: The humble muffin has become a government change agent.
In what is probably the first-ever Office of Management and Budget directive with a connection to overpriced baked goods, Director Jack Lew is ordering agencies to take stock of their conference spending and report back by Nov. 1.
The impetus, of course, is that newly released report by the Justice Department’s inspector general that uncovered numerous examples of questionable expenses at DOJ conferences from October 2007 through September 2009. What really caught the attention of politicians and the media, however, was the finding that muffins at one Washington gathering cost more than $16 each.
No matter that the hotel in question furnished the iced tea and coffee free of charge; this is not the message that a focused-on-efficiency administration wants to convey. In today’s memo, Lew, while not singling out specific instances, cites the IG report as a reminder of “how important it is that agencies undertake all due diligence to protect taxpayer resources from unnecessary expenditures.”
Under orders from President Obama, he continues, agencies must now conduct “a thorough review” of policies and controls related to conference activities and spending. (In the meantime, all such expenses have to be cleared at the deputy secretary level or the equivalent.) OMB will compile the results for Vice President Joe Biden, who will have them on the agenda of a December meeting of agency heads tied to the administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste.
No word on whether pastries will be served.
Stephen Colbert welcomed troops returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom to his show last night, with plenty of surprises — beer, pretty girls, Joe Biden serving hot dogs, Yogi Berra, and a toilet fit for Saddam. Check out the video below, and others after the jump:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Been There Won That - Joe Biden & Yogi Berra<a>|
Happy Friday! To ease you into your Labor Day weekend, enjoy a few headlines from The Onion, such as “Pentagon Ripped Off By Shady Weapons Dealer:”
Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted losing $192 million in defense funds Tuesday when he unwittingly purchased a large number of bogus BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles from a disreputable arms dealer known only as “Steve.” “When I got the crate open at the office, it turned out the ‘missiles’ were nothing more than old sewer pipes filled with newspapers and capped with construction cones, all painted to look legit,” Gates said.
That’s probably the Onion’s best weapons acquisition story since last year’s “Obama Axes Pentagon Plan To Build Billion Dollar Tank In Shape of Dragon.”
And while we’re at it, their gloriously insane send-ups of Joe Biden continue in “Biden To Cool His Heels in Mexico For A While” (link contains profanity):
“I need to steer clear of D.C. until some **** blows over,” said Biden, sitting in the far corner of a Mexican cantina with his back to the wall and taking a long swig from a bottle of Tecate Light. “It’s nothing I can’t handle, but let’s just say there was a little misunderstanding. Somebody didn’t get something they were supposed to get.”
“And somebody else got a whole lot more than they bargained for,” he added.
[...] On Tuesday, the Senate received a postcard of topless women wearing green, red, and white bikini bottoms from Biden. A personal message apologized for his extended absence and provided contact information and instructions to call his buddy Blaze if they needed a tiebreaking vote.
Have a great weekend! FedLine will be back on Tuesday.
Just leave it to Joe Biden to find a way to embarrass himself in his administration’s moment of triumph. (FYI, the following video contains a half-mumbled profanity, in case your co-workers are sensitive to that kind of thing.)
There’s only one proper way to respond to that:
There are 8,600 facilities with at least one set of the official portraits of President Bush and Vice President Cheney,Â and at noonÂ eastern tomorrow the portraits will have to be â€œremoved and respectfully disposedâ€ of,Â according to a GSA spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman didnâ€™t expand on what â€œrespectfully disposeâ€ means, so your guess is as good as ours.
The portraits will be replaced by the official photos of President Obama and Vice President Biden as soon as prints become available, which probably means most offices won’t see these smiling faces until March, according to GSA.