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Let's get real. Would YOU go to work if you knew you would not get paid, and if you saw management problems and infighting so severe that it was uncertain WHEN you might EVENTUALLY get paid? I didn't think so.

I really, really, hope that a group of employees of one of the many member agencies of the Department of Homeland Security decide to stand up for their rights as workers. It's time, it's called for, and we would all be safer if they did.

We can and should examine and debate what is and isn't a necessary or even a useful function or agency with the Bush-era superagency of the Department of Homeland Security, that behemoth with the creepy name. But we can't just assume that we don't need any of it.

Imagine if all the TSA workers at La Guardia or O'Hare or LAX said,

"Hey. We have rents and mortgages to pay, car payments, families to feed. Coming here and doing this highly stressful work is not a hobby. You don't value us enough to pay us? Let us know when you do. You have our home phone numbers. Oh, and by the way - if you screw around too long, a lot of us will have new jobs, because we can't go without a paycheck any more than you can."

Imagine if that happens as soon as TSA employees go unpaid at just one airport? Or with port security professionals at just one seaport?

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Congressional absolutist dumbbells are quite literally playing with fire. Temper-tantrum babies. And they're not much different from kids playing with matches in the hayloft, with barrels of lamp oil and a lot of nervous livestock in the barn.

How long do you think the constituents in that district would wait before local economic collapse sends the peasants with pitchforks to Capitol Hill?

And I really do hope we see that kind of scenario - instead of thoroughly disillusioned unpaid people going to work and missing the guy who gets through with deadly ricin or anthrax or a form of high explosives that looks like cake flour.

Congressional absolutist dumbbells are quite literally playing with fire. Temper-tantrum babies. And they're not much different from kids playing with matches in the hayloft, with barrels of lamp oil and a lot of nervous livestock in the barn.

Three weeks' funding so they can pay you that long? Or seven days' funding? And you're supposed to conscientiously muck out the stalls and keep the critters calm and make sure nobody knocks over or leaves anything near those barrels of lamp oil, and nothing gets bought or brought or used that could poison someone or something, or is something that's not supposed to be in there for any of a whole bunch of reasons? And you're not sure how you are going to eat if you stay there instead of clearing out to work for another ranch?

With all those bloviating, cigar smoking blowhards outside the barn pontificating about not paying you.

Seems like, if you are one of the people doing one of those jobs, the only reasonable Plan B would be to open the barn doors, chase all the critters out, hope they stampede over the jerks playing games with your job and your paycheck, and run for your life.

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Larry Wines