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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Tick-tock, keep it moving, people …

Editor’s Notebook: Tick-tock, keep it moving, people …

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Some years back, a member of the Arlington County Board (chair that year, I think), traveled the hour and a half to Richmond one morning to testify in support of legislation then being considered in the General Assembly.

Apparently not having done this before, the board chair was shocked (and incensed) that he got something like just 90 seconds to speak before being cut off by the committee or subcommittee chair.

Don’t take it personally, a number of people tried to tell him. That’s the way it goes in committee hearings. Move it along, move it along. Being board chairman of Arlington (or Fairfax or anywhere else) was of no concern of the committee chairs, then or now.

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Your intrepid scribe stumbled upon a similar occurrence while watching a legislative hearing yesterday. A resident was speaking in support of a bill, but missed a couple of clear clues that the chair had heard enough and needed to keep the ball rolling in order to get to the remaining pieces of legislation on the docket.

When the chair finally cut off the speaker – not exactly gently but not particularly nastily – the latter seemed genuinely miffed. But with oodles of bills and just a few weeks to deal with them, committee chairs don’t worry too much about hurt feelings.

IRONY IS A LOST ART: I’m not going to name the legislator in question because, heck, I like him, but this person is guilty of misusing one of the most misunderstood terms out there.

In a discussion in the General Assembly about students, the lawmaker said that supporting his bill would support “the best and the brightest” among young Virginians.

“The Best and the Brightest” by David Halberstam is a book from 1972 about how the smartest minds of the 1960s – John F. Kennedy’s “whiz kids” – who may have been brilliant but managed to still [mess] up and get the U.S. into the quicksand of Vietnam.

Seems nobody “gets” irony these days.

– Scott McCaffrey

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