Scenes from a shutdown

So, the US Government is shut down while the two parties continues to take their game of chicken to a higher, though not by any means new, level. The real losers so far? Vacationers, WWII vets, and anyone who lives or works on Federal land. The government seems determined to keep people out of public monuments, including ones that never relied on Federal employees for access before and are therefore requiring added resources and personnel to close. Jon Ondrasik of “Five For Fighting” cites his personal experience on the Mall.

But then how big is the shutdown really? Perhaps only as little as 17% is really shut down. I know there are still plenty of employees still going to work at the Dept. of Homeland Security building down the street from where I work.

Evidently the Amber Alert system, however, is not part of the 83% still functioning. I’ll bet you they still found the funding for that NSA program that records our cellphone calls and reads our email. Certainly union representatives are allowed to work.

Elderly couples living on Federal land, however, aren’t so lucky. Also at that link, not only are privately funded/operated cites being closed, but the Fed is having a difficult time remembering what land they own. Mt. Vernon, folks, is not Federal land.

As for the National Park Service, I’m sure it’s not hard to find disgruntled employees willing to get their digs in, but there certainly seems to be at least anecdotal evidence to support this quote:

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” an unnamed park ranger told the Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”

I was around for the last government shutdown and I don’t remember it having this big an impact then. Of course it could just be I’m paying closer attention now. Seventeen years ago I was a cloistered college student who really didn’t have a stake in the game. Colleges are state funded. But then the Federal Gov’t has asked that state parks be closed, also.

Meanwhile, though it looks as though nothing is happening in Congress, the House has passed several measures to fund parts of the Federal government. No word from the Senate as yet, though Harry Reid seems ill-disposed toward most of it. However, a bill granting back pay for furloughed workers has been passed by both houses.

On the brighter side, Dr. Ben Carson’s audit may be postponed. On the other hand, Tea Party requests for tax exempt status will continue to be stalled–though with less paperwork required, at least.

 

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