October 1, 2013

The US Government Partially Shuts Down

In the wake of the IPCC meeting in Stockholm last week we idly wondered:

When will the world's policymakers stop spouting hot air and start taking practical measures to mitigate the inevitable climate change that we all must now face.

The answer seems to be "not just yet", because in the United States the Democrat and Republican parties are still at loggerheads in Congress over "Obamacare", and as a result many "non-essential" services have been shut down, and getting on for a million US government workers have been told to stay at home. Here's a video report from Al Jazeera on the current state of the nation in the land of the free:

Al Jazeera point out that:

Almost all of the National Space Agency's workers have been told not to come to work. Just 7% of the Environmental Protection Agency's employees will report to work, which will affect the EPA's ability to take legal action against polluters, and the Food and Drug Administration will have to stop some of its food safety inspections.

whilst President Obama said that:

Congress generally has to stop governing by crisis. They have to break this habit. It is a drag on the economy.

Perhaps in a roundabout sort of a way all this is good news for the environment? Much less commuting to work means much less carbon dioxide pumped out of tailpipes. Or maybe Al Jazeera are right, and with nobody keeping watch polluters will pollute even more?

Watch this space for more news, but don't hold your breath. If you can manage it, don't breathe or eat whilst doing so.

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Comments on The US Government Partially Shuts Down »

October 4, 2013

Jim @ 12:24 pm

I tried to access the NASA web site today. It told me this:

I followed the suggested link to USA.gov, which told me this:

What's Affected by a Government Shutdown?

  • Vital services that ensure seniors and young children have access to healthy food and meals may not have sufficient Federal funds to serve all beneficiaries in an extended lapse.
  • Call centers, hotlines and regional offices that help veterans understand their benefits will close to the public.
  • Veterans’ compensation, pension, education, and other benefits could be cut off in the case of an extended shutdown.
  • Every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, will be immediately closed.
  • New applications for small business loans and loan guarantees will be immediately halted.
  • Research into life-threatening diseases and other areas will stop, and new patients won’t be accepted into clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.
  • Work to protect consumers, ranging from child product safety to financial security to the safety of hazardous waste facilities, will cease. The EPA will halt non-essential inspections of chemical facilities and drinking water systems.
  • Permits and reviews for planned energy and transportations projects will stop, preventing companies from working on these projects. Loans to rural communities will be halted.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees including many charged with protecting us from terrorist threats, defending our borders, inspecting our food, and keeping our skies safe will work without pay until the shutdown ends.
  • Hundreds of thousands of additional federal workers will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay.

Services That Will Continue During the Government Shutdown

  • Social Security beneficiaries will continue receiving checks.
  • The U.S. Postal Service will keep delivering mail.
  • Active military will continue serving.
  • Air traffic controllers, prison guards, and border patrol agents will remain on the job.
  • NASA Mission Control will continue supporting astronauts serving on the Space Station.

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