The GAO Human Capital Reform Act of 2004

The GAO Human Capital Reform Act of 2004 (Pub.L. 108-271, 118 Stat. 811, enacted July 7, 2004) is a United States federal law designed to provide new human capital flexibilities with respect to the Government Accountability Office, and for other purposes. The most visible provision of the law was to change the name of the organization from the General Accounting Office, which it had been known as since its founding in 1921, to the Government Accountability Office. Besides the name change, the law:
Decouples GAO from the federal employee pay system,
Establishes a compensation system that places greater emphasis on job performance while protecting the purchasing power of employees who are performing acceptably,
Gives GAO permanent authority to offer voluntary early retirement opportunities and voluntary separation payments (buy-outs),
Provides greater flexibility for reimbursing employees for relocation benefits,
Allows certain employees and officers with less than three years of federal service to earn increased amounts of annual leave, and
Authorizes an exchange program with private sector organizations.

Warren Harding

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was the 29th President of the United States (1921–1923). A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate (1899–1903), as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (1904–1906) and as a U.S. Senator (1915–1921). He was also the first incumbent United States Senator and the first newspaper publisher to be elected President.[1][2] It was Harding who first used the phrase “Founding Fathers,” including it in his keynote address to the 1916 Republican National Convention.[3]
His conservatism, affable manner, and make-no-enemies campaign strategy made Harding the compromise choice at the 1920 Republican National Convention. During his presidential campaign, in the aftermath of World War I, he promised a return of the nation to “normalcy”. This “America first” campaign encouraged industrialization and a strong economy independent of foreign influence. Harding departed from the progressive movement that had dominated Congress since President Theodore Roosevelt. In the 1920 election, he and his running mate, Calvin Coolidge, defeated Democrat and fellow Ohioan James M. Cox in the largest presidential popular vote landslide (60.36% to 34.19%) since popular vote totals were first recorded in 1824.[4]
President Harding rewarded friends and political contributors, referred to as the Ohio Gang, with financially powerful positions. Scandals and corruption, including the notorious Teapot Dome scandal, eventually pervaded his administration; one of his own cabinet and several of his appointees were eventually tried, convicted, and sent to prison for bribery or defrauding the federal government.[5] Harding did however make some notably positive appointments to his cabinet.[6]
In foreign affairs, Harding spurned the League of Nations, and signed a separate peace treaty with Germany and Austria, formally ending World War I. He also strongly promoted world Naval disarmament at the 1921–1922 Washington Naval Conference, and urged U.S. participation in a proposed International Court. Domestically, Harding signed the first child welfare program in the United States and dealt with striking workers in the mining and railroad industries. He also cleaned up the Veterans Bureau in March 1923.[7] The nation’s unemployment rate dropped by half during Harding’s administration.[8] In August 1923, President Harding suddenly collapsed and died during a stop in California on a return trip from Alaska.[9] Vice President Calvin Coolidge succeeded him.
Historians have traditionally been resistant to giving Harding good presidential reviews due to the multiple federal department scandals during his administration; as a result, Harding has received low rankings as President.[10] His reputation, however, has increased among some historians for his conservative financial policies, fiscal responsibility, and his endorsement of African American civil rights.[11] Harding’s creation of the Budget Bureau was a major economic accomplishment that reformed and streamlined wasteful federal spending.[11] In 1998, journalist Carl S. Anthony stated Harding was a “modern figure” who embraced technology and culture and who was sensitive to the plights of minorities, women, and labor.[12] President Harding contended with racial problems on a national level, rather than sectional, and openly advocated African American political, educational, and economic equality inside the Solid South.[13]

Funny — to be a Century by Emily Dickinson

Funny — to be a Century
by Emily Dickinson

Funny — to be a Century —
And see the People — going by —
I — should die of the Oddity
But then — I’m not so staid — as He

He keeps His Secrets safely — very
Were He to tell — extremely sorry
This Bashful Globe of Ours would be
So dainty of Publicity

Cloony the Clown by Shel Silverstein

Cloony the Clown
by Shel Silverstein

I’ll tell you the story of Cloony the Clown
Who worked in a circus that came through town.
His shoes were too big and his hat was too small,
But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.
He had a trombone to play loud silly tunes,
He had a green dog and a thousand balloons.
He was floppy and sloppy and skinny and tall,
But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.
And every time he did a trick,
Everyone felt a little sick.
And every time he told a joke,
Folks sighed as if their hearts were broke.
And every time he lost a shoe,
Everyone looked awfully blue.
And every time he stood on his head,
Everyone screamed, “Go back to bed!”
And every time he made a leap,
Everybody fell asleep.
And every time he ate his tie,
Everyone began to cry.
And Cloony could not make any money
Simply because he was not funny.
One day he said, “I’ll tell this town
How it feels to be an unfunny clown.”
And he told them all why he looked so sad,
And he told them all why he felt so bad.
He told of Pain and Rain and Cold,
He told of Darkness in his soul,
And after he finished his tale of woe,
Did everyone cry? Oh no, no, no,
They laughed until they shook the trees
With “Hah-Hah-Hahs” and “Hee-Hee-Hees.”
They laughed with howls and yowls and shrieks,
They laughed all day, they laughed all week,
They laughed until they had a fit,
They laughed until their jackets split.
The laughter spread for miles around
To every city, every town,
Over mountains, ‘cross the sea,
From Saint Tropez to Mun San Nee.
And soon the whole world rang with laughter,
Lasting till forever after,
While Cloony stood in the circus tent,
With his head drooped low and his shoulders bent.
And he said,”THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEANT –
I’M FUNNY JUST BY ACCIDENT.”
And while the world laughed outside.
Cloony the Clown sat down and cried.

God Bless America

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.

~Irving Berlin