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  • The Little Things

    Posted by Dan from Madison on October 3rd, 2013 (All posts by )

    Since the government is in a partial shutdown, I decided to very carefully keep track of the things that I miss. I have also been keen to keep tabs on my wife, to see if she has noticed anything in her circle that is closed, altered, inconveniences her, etc. She really hasn’t said anything as of yet (I am not asking or prompting, just listening to hear how her day is, waiting for her to say “such and so was closed”, or something of that nature).

    The one thing so far that I have been blocked on is the NOAA radar website that I visit every day, to get some weather news. I am in the HVAC industry and as such it is important that I keep up on the weather. The NOAA site now redirects here, with an ominous message.

    Of course, this is bullsh1t, as even though I don’t know how these things work, I imagine that the federal government pays its server fees far in advance, and this is just plain old punishment for the “regular folks”, just like closing the national parks is punishment for those who have planned vacations. The amount of money needed to keep our parks and websites like NOAA open is so tiny it is almost laughable when compared to the enormous benefits and waste that the government is involved in and it is simply a stick in the eye to us.

    So that is it so far – one website down that has affected me so far. And it isn’t like there aren’t any other places where I can get the weather.

     

    19 Responses to “The Little Things”

    1. Tim Says:

      Speaking as a nonessential Government worker, I think this is a little overblown. Yes, the administration is engaging in a certain amount of Washington Monument strategy, but some of the nonessential activities are needed. For example, BLS is nonessential but the September CPI determines the Social Security COLA. How are they going to determine that? Is it just postponed until the end of the shutdown? They could leave the NOAA website up but how will it be updated and who takes care of glitches and hackers?

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Shut down Education, Commerce and the EPA. Then we’ll talk.

    3. Joe Wooten Says:

      Why does the SS COLA need to be done now? Looks like you are the one overblowing the non-essential stuff.

      Jonathan – Add most of Agriculture to that list.

    4. Tim Says:

      Joe,

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you. The Federal Government needs to be cut but not everything unessential is unnecessary. At my dentist’s the other day someone was talking to me about how air traffic control was being disallowed overtime so they had to work with fewer people. This can go on for a while but not forever. Maybe TSA should be disbanded and replaced with private police run by the airlines. Would probably be cheaper. Could be true for air traffic controllers too.

      Again, I’m off now and perhaps won’t get paid for this furlough but I still believe the GOP needs to stick to their guns and extract concessions from the Democrats. I’ll survive and so will the country.

    5. Grurray Says:

      Here’s a chart that shows how much the federal government spends each week. They paid everything in advance in anticipation of the shutdown. When the shutdown is over they will quickly pay for whatever they missed.
      The only solution is to keep it closed. Especially the Bureau of Lies and Statistics. There are any number of ways to make up information without spending much money at all.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      If I recall, Cowperthwaite went out of his way to minimize any official gathering of Hong Kong economic data lest such info be used to rationalize new govt programs.

    7. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Dan:

      Here is an alternative radar map. It shows that rain is approaching my area right now.

      http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/

      Weather Channel is also working:

      http://www.weather.com/maps/news/forecastsummary/usdopplerradar_large.html

      so is acuweather:

      http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/national/weather-radar

      BTW: Your payroll tax reports will still be due.

    8. phwest Says:

      I was at my daughter’s field hockey game Tuesday and they only had 1 ref. Also the MS game was cancelled because only 2 buses showed up for the various away games instead of the 4 requested. Amazing what breaks down without the feds around.

      /sarc off

    9. Robert Schwartz Says:

      BTW, the rain came through.

    10. teacher Says:

      I work at a public university, and we are experiencing the following:

      Military Tuition Assistance is now unavailable for classes starting on or after October 1st due to no funding mechanism for FY2014.

      · As long as a government shutdown is not prolonged, the Federal Pell Grant & Direct Loan programs should not be affected. If it is prolonged, funding could be delayed due to not having enough staff to process the payments.

      · The Department of Education has furloughed staff that support campus-based aid programs such as Federal Work-Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants – so delays could be seen if a shutdown is extended.

      · Extramural researchers who do not require immediate intervention or oversight from civil servants or who are not waiting on disbursal of actual funding may continue their research.

      · Nearly all of the staff from USDA’s NIFA, NSF, and NIH who is not providing in-patient care at the NIH Clinical Center are on furlough. The NSF will be sending notices (if it hasn’t already) to awardees informing them that payments will not be made during the shutdown but that if they have funding awarded they can continue their research.

    11. MikeK Says:

      I work as a DoD contractor examining recruits in Los Angles. I kind of expected that they would shut down but nope. I worked Tuesday.

      The Park Service is spending extra money to block access to park sites, like the WWII Memorial. They are also barricading parking lots in the Great Smokies which have hikers’ cars still parked in them.

      I think a few more TV appearances by Harry Reid and the whole thing will collapse. He’s the GOP’s secret weapon.

    12. tired dog Says:

      So the out of work for the moment gov pukes will collect unemployment at my cost.

      Extraordinary measures are called for.

    13. Death 6 Says:

      I don’t think furloughed government workers can apply for unemployment since it is only a temporary layoff. Am I correct?

      Mike

    14. Robert Schwartz Says:

      The Time Warner Cable feed of the NOAA weather radar with the NOAA weather radio brodacst as the soundtrack is still working.

    15. Robert Schwartz Says:

      BTW, if the Gulf Coast is hit by this hurricane, will the Feds say sorry, we’re shut down?

    16. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Again, I’m off now and perhaps won’t get paid for this furlough

      I may be wrong, but I believe that in all 17 previous shutdowns, in our lifetimes that all the actual Federal civilian employees got back pay as soon as the Republicans collapsed. That made the time off into paid vacation. I could be wrong, and if there was a shutdown where the civilian employees were not held harmless, please let me know. From the odds, I would bet that they were safe. Especially since the House will vote Saturday on H.R. 3223—Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act. It is expected to pass and be signed by Obama.

      There is a certain caste system in play, I believe.

      Contractors can be in a far worse situation as the Federales can shut them down and they are out of luck.

      As far as the Social Security COLA [Disclosure, I got my first check last month] is concerned; Buraq Hussein has already openly threatened to not send out Social Security checks if the shutdown lasts for any extended period. Legally, he cannot do that, but the law means nothing to Democrats.

      Subotai Bahadur

    17. Jonathan Says:

      Furloughed govt employees most likely will be paid retroactively. However, people who are now unemployed, if they are fortunate enough to pay taxes in the future to support govt employees, will not be able to average their taxable income retroactively.

    18. Dr. Weevil Says:

      Hmmm. I think it’s much worse than that. NOAA’s weather reports have been working fine for me, with all the usual very detailed information. But I live in Staunton, in the Shenandoah Valley, 150 miles SW of DC, and when I click on my area on the main national weather map (http://www.weather.gov/), I get a local weather map headed “NWS Forecast Office Baltimore/Washington”, where I click again to get Staunton. (Go to http://www.weather.gov/lwx/ to see if you can see what I see, and try clicking on Staunton towards the lower left side of the map yourself.)

      I just tried going back to the national map and clicking on 8-10 random locations all around the 48 contiguous states, and all of them gave far less information than I get, EXCEPT when I clicked on Washington, D.C., where I got all the usual detailed information.

      It looks likes the turds in D.C. have turned off the National Weather Service for everyone except their own precious selves, plus anyone (like me) who lives close enough to D.C. to be included in the zone of the special fucking snowflakes. (Excuse my language, but this REALLY pisses me off, even if I do get some advantage from my proximity to D.C.)

    19. Dr. Weevil Says:

      Hmmm. Just tried clicking randomly on the national map, and most (not all) locations are giving the full information now. I can think of at least three possibilities – there may be more: (a) They turn most things on after midnight D.C. time, because it’s more work to turn it off than to keep providing the usual information, (b) They’re doing some kind of rolling blackouts, randomly shutting off the detailed information in different places and different times, (c – the paranoid option) When the NSA sees someone complaining on the web, they turn it all on for him, and maybe for the website he complained on, just to make him feel stupid.

      I don’t really believe (c), but I do wonder what the Hell is going on with the NWS, and why so many are complaining that they can’t access the National Weather Service’s information, while I, who just happen to be living in the “Baltimore/Washington” zone have never had any problem at all, though I check the site at least once a day, on average.

      In short, my previous comment may be oversimplified and inaccurate, but it sure looks like something along those lines – weather information only for nobility in the capital – may be going on.