I sense a metaphor, or three. From the Washington Post:
The construction of a massive new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security, billed as critical for national security and the revitalization of Southeast Washington, is running more than $1.5 billion over budget, is 11 years behind schedule and may never be completed, according to planning documents and federal officials.
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the George W. Bush administration called for a new, centralized headquarters to strengthen the department’s ability to coordinate the fight against terrorism and respond to natural disasters. More than 50 historic buildings would be renovated and new ones erected on the grounds of St. Elizabeths, a onetime insane asylum with a panoramic view of the District.
The entire complex was to be finished as early as this year, at a cost of less than $3 billion, according to the initial plan.
Instead, with the exception of a Coast Guard building that opened last year, the grounds remain entirely undeveloped, with the occasional deer grazing amid the vacant Gothic Revival-style structures. The budget has ballooned to $4.5 billion, with completion pushed back to 2026. Even now, as Obama administration officials make the best of their limited funding, they have started design work for a second building that congressional aides and others familiar with the project say may never open…
I’m sure the DHS could use more coordination, but with moden advances in videoconferencing and online integration, is putting “about 14,000 DHS employees” into a centralized campus of fifty-plus historically-relevant buildings really the best way to achieve this?
… During initial planning for the building to house the offices of the homeland security secretary several years ago, DHS officials raised concerns with the GSA, people familiar with the episode recounted. In the blueprint, employees with lower security clearances would have to pass through a high-security area to move around the rest of building. The DHS said this could not be allowed and asked the GSA to build a million-dollar addition to accommodate the employees with the lower clearances. The GSA balked. Tensions mounted.
The dispute was resolved by reorganizing the layout so employees with the same clearance level work in the same part of the building.
“It took a while to work through that,’’ recalled a person familiar with the project…
Well, that certainly bodes well for the final results. Maybe it’s just having grown up reading too much Catholic history during a contentious period, but I can’t help envisioning this project as an all-American analog to Vatican City — a wholly political solution to what was presented as a purely theological issue.
Hands down most eye-catching name on any of the ballots on Tuesday was in the Oregon Dem gubernatorial primary, where extremely long-shot Ifeanyichukwu Diru was listed.
The Panopticon. And on the grounds of an insane asylum. How appropriate.
As with the Mayans, only the high priests and a closely controlled retinue are permitted access to the inner sanctum.
And as with the Mayans, the high priests are expected, nay required, to appear in public from time to time to present the assembled masses with something bloody.
Higgs Boson's Mate
Egyptologists working from inscriptions on site estimate that it took 10-20 years to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. If those ancient Egyptians had the benefit of modern equipment, DHS’ superb organizational skills and its obvious genius at hiring contractors the Great Pyramid would have taken only 150 years to complete.
Sometimes we have a little high priest in each of us. Like now.
[trigger warning: more and new]
Fuckaine – Hooray
Everything old is new again.
2007: “The United States has been building large, expensive and long-lasting military bases in Iraq as well as an enormous new embassy complex”
One can make many friends/contractors/henchmen very wealthy in a very short time if one is willing to build huge projects. Whether or not those projects are useful is rather beside the point.
Higgs Boson's Mate
It’s not possible for me to have any confidence in an agency that is 50% over budget and which is a decade or more behind schedule on it’s own headquarters. If The Big One was to shake California tomorrow I have the feeling that I’d die of old age before we received any meaningful help from this aggregation of Bozos.
OT, but I can’t help noticing the Newsmax headline to the right that says: 31,072 Scientists Agree Climate Change ‘Unsettled’.
So, I looked into it. It’s an article about a shady looking website calling itself the Petition Project. According the PP’s home page, they have 31, 487 signatures. All scientists? Well, no. Only 9,029 have PhD’s.
And according to their own page on the Qualifications of the Signers, only 39 of the petition signers are “climatologists”. I put it in quotes because there’s no breakdown of how many of them PhD’s or are doing active research in climatolgy.
So, out of 31,487 signatures of self-identified, so-called scientists – less than a third of whom claim to have a PhD – only 39 (who may not even have a PhD) claim to be actual climatologists, and even that number is suspicious, with no evidence of their qualifications other than their say so.
Just wanted to get that out there, so anyone who hears about it from their wingnut relatives or friends has some info to push back with.
The Triskelion is running into problems? Who knew?
From the (Anti-)Global Warming Petition Project’s FAQ:
So there are least five scientists who are dead, and may have removed their signature had they the chance to review the latest research. Edward Teller, H-Bomb advocate, died in 2003. That’s 11 years of research since his death. And that assuming his signature is even real, given that Teller hasn’t been around, for over a decade, to contest it if it were not.
From the same page:
Right. Unless, you know, they were inconveniently dead.
Of course, Newsmax, et. al., are coming out with this now in order to distract from, or counteract, the latest news about the ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic melting.
There’s more information at Wikipedia, Oregon Petition (aka Petition Project), which goes into greater detail about the shady and questionable actions of the people running it. For instance:
Sorry to go on and on, but bullshit like that really pisses me off.
You do realize we are living in an inter-glacial period? Global Warming will just balance out the next Ice Age. Win-win as far as I can tell.
I wonder how big a deficit no one would care about we would have if Bush were president for life.
May we never have to hear or see Paul Broun again!
Have a feeling he and Gingrey are today commiserating with that fiasco last weekend in D.C.
“Where is everybody?”
Also nice to see that the Palin and Erickson endorsed Handel took a tumble.
@NotMax: Yea, if our outside shot of a mayoral candidate had won it would have been even better.
Realize it is only the day after, but think Carter has a shot against Deal?
@NotMax: All about GOTV. There are a lot of people that Deal has fucked over. If the don’t vote I guess it’s xin loi.
Horrible, horrible bombing in Nigeria.
@raven: I for one am going to miss him.
Next door neighbor mowed till nearly 10 last night.
It is 6:17, and I hear a mower right fucking now.
About to kill a motherfucker.
@OzarkHillbilly: Move to Oconee County.
Happy 105th Sir Nicky. May the grandchildren of the 669 children you saved live long and prosper.
Much too distant from here, but if anyone is closer to Morgantown, WV’s Atomic Grill, why not stop in as a gesture of support for a clever rebuttal to bone-headed, knuckle-dragging sexism.
@raven: Oh no, I don’t want to do that. You see, now that his distraction is gone, a lot more focus may well fall onto the shenanigans occurring in the MO state legislature and thereby raise my own personal levels of embarrassment and, well, you know, it’s all about me.
No local noise ordinances?
@NotMax: Damn, now that is some kind of skin! My mouth is watering just looking at that picture.
Unincorporated part of a pulsing red exurban county, and no HOA was ever formed. People are usually decent (except for last night’s mower, who has a host of issues, not the least of which being his career switch of 5 years ago from blue collar skilled labor to poorly paid professional Elvis impersonator, which cost him his family).
This morning’s mowing, though, is different.
Why is google showing a painting of someone pulling down the universe’s zipper today?
No one could have anticipated that putting all our eggs in one basket could facilitate a decapitating strike.
Screw the sunk cost fallacy and pull the plug.
Fossil hunter Mary Anning‘s 215th birthday anniversary, according to the associated text.
Understood – I was just joking that the picture appears to be someone pulling down a giant zipper
I suppose they could be pulling it up but thats not as funny
Aha. I habitually surf the web with images turned off, so didn’t see the pic.
What, DHS’ headquarters building project is as fucked up as everything else about DHS? Quelle surprise!
We should just ask the Chinese of they’d build the headquarters for us. They seem to be able to finish projects like that. A net benefit is that the building would be filled with bugs and monitoring devices, so there is a chance that the agency’s activities would be monitored for the first time.
@JGabriel: Also, how many of those Ph.D’s are in things like “Biblical Education” from Oral Roberts University, or something.
–A pork project that is loosely associated with the fight on teh terrorism?
Cut food stamps and lower the top bracket. It’s the only way to be sure.
Well, to be fair, making a building that protected from the espionage of their own contractors must be a very complicated task.
As a former Coastie, it doesn’t surprise me at all that their building is occupied. Underfunded and overtasked was always the situation, but the nation’s smallest military branch and oldest seagoing service got it done. Semper Paratus!
With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that design might cover their face …
Putting them all in one central target is such a great idea. That’s why the Prez and Vice-prez always fly on the same plane.
In 1991, the EU ordered that train operators be separate companies from the owners of the railways, in order to allow for competition. Free Market, yeah! So the French company SNCF operates the trains and RFF owns the railways and stations; both government owned. Well, when SNCF ordered 15 billion euros worth of new trains, they relied on platform measurements from RFF. Oops.
RFF measured the newer platforms, but there are a lot of older ones that are wider.
Shut the fuck up about this issue. No, seriously. Shut the fuck up.
This is what was asked for. It is D.C. inside baseball but Eleanor Holmes Norton demanded that the agency’s headquarters be built there. The Dems in the then fledgling House Homeland Security Committee and in the Appropriations committees raised absolute hell and warned of serious repercussions if Tom Ridge followed through on his plan to build the new headquarters either on some vacant land adjacent to Langley, or at Fort Meade, places with much lower construction costs on land that was basically free. Once the deal was secured, the D.C. Historical Commission (which generally controls most construction affecting older buildings and properties in D.C., tens of thousands of them) snapped into action and started extracting design and construction compromises to protect the old lunatic asylum, and the District started extracting economic redevelopment promises. Yeah, Saint E’s is old but I’m not sure how much historical value a civil war hospital-cum-lunatic asylum actually has, unless maybe we want to keep some of it as a memorial for John Hinckley (still an inmate there) in an expression of national gratitude. Unlike private developers, it’s hard for government agencies in D.C. to budget for things like bribes that would keep construction moving along and on budget, which is part of the reason why most of them just rent commercial space.
One shouldn’t be ungrateful when one gets what one demanded.
Not if your goal is to grift as much as you possibly can before someone decides to just cancel the project.
Has anyone done a study of how much it would cost to disband the Department of Homeland Security? It would certainly be less than $4.5 billion and would result in a significantly larger net good for the country and its citizens.
Why do we need “Homeland Security” and “Department of Defense?”