(Train wreck or in for the long haul - you decide...)
As you may have intuited from either my introduction or just reading a few of my post, I live and work in the environs of DC. When I saw that the House had held strong and the government was truly shut down, I decided to see how it effects stuff around here. This all the stuff I gathered on the subject.
- National Parks: It appears that it is too much a burden to allow people to wonder around the national parks all by themselves. They will just have to go other places and wonder around. Oddly enough, this will mean that places like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial - all outside venues - will be blocked off. That does not mean the police will not be patrolling the the areas like they usually do. They just will be ticketing anyone who walks on the federal grass. Unless you are a homeless guy taking a whiz in the bushes. No one wants to get anywhere near those guys. This unfortunately will include two of my favorite parks - Shenandoah National Park (SNP) and Prince William Forest (where I occasionally go mountain biking). Interestingly, SNP was going to do a controlled burn on the 15th at Big Meadows, which I guess will be rescheduled. An honest administration would just allow people to wonder around on their own - but an honest administration wouldn't make up law on their own and precipitate this whole thing. This is all true unless you are a WWII veteran - then you can storm your memorial like the real men and women you are! Go Vets! (feel good story of the shutdown!). UPDATE: The House is going to pass a CR to just fund parks & VA hospital. If Senate rejects it then they hate crippled veterans, vacationers, park rangers, and bears - the black and brown ones. Racist Bastards! UPDATE: Senate rejected it - Racist!
- Government Web Sites: In another churlish move, the administration has decided to take down the government web sites that people care about. Like the Library of Congress, and the Damn Panda Cam! The national zoo will be patrolled by the cops and the animals will be fed, but no one will be able to walk around there on their own. Have no fear though - the Obamacare web site is up and running - sort of - apparently it and the various state exchanges are crashing badly. In an amazing oversight, background checks for gun purchases will still be functional. How did they miss that?
- Government Checks: So social security checks will go out to the vulnerables, and food stamps will be unaffected. Apparently a shut down federal government does not mean stopping free government cheese.
- Government Employees: There are apparently massive furloughs going on all over the beltway. One plus for those of us in the area is the traffic should be better as all the feds will be off the road. This was not the case this morning. Apparently they all had to come in to work to turn in their blackberries and wait for an email from OPM notifying them if they were 'essential'. Oh - they are not to do any real work or check their e-mail. How they resolve that conumdrum is one of those mysteries of the federal service - a kind of 'don't ask, don't tell thing. According to the OPM guidance memo, they will eventually get paid for coming in and not doing anything. There is also the very real possibility they will get paid for staying at home during the shutdown too, depending on how congress resolves the impasse. Have no fear though, the political appointees of the administration are somehow not subject to a shutdown furlough, according to a 'special' (read unaccountable) ruling by the justice department. Congress critters and their staff(?) fall into the same category.
- Travel and Trips: Apparently the government shutdown is not going to stop Obama from doing his planned junket to Asia to suck up to the Chinese, or stop Kerry from going Toyko to relive his Vietnam R&R memories. On the other hand, travel for regular state department diplomats is suspended. Does that means they are going to go stag? I am guessing that at least the teleprompter will be allowed to travel as it has to be a political appointee. UPDATE: The Bamster canceled his far east junket, and instead is sending Kerry. Brothels all over the far east put on alert for the confluence of Secret Service agents and Kerry's frat party staff.
- White House Chefs: Apparently there is some question as to whether or not the White House chefs are 'essential'. Beany Weniees for all remaining staff.