Government Shutdowns: A Brief Primer

nickcage

Chances are, you’ve heard about the government shutdown (who hasn’t), but seeing as the last major shutdown was back in the 90’s you might not be entirely familiar with what a ‘shutdown’ really is. In America’s history there have been a grand total of 18 shutdowns, the first occurring in October 1, 1976 when Gerald Ford vetoed a bill, citing overspending as his reasoning. The result was a partial shutdown which lasted until early October 11.

Generally speaking, major government shutdowns are somewhat rare. So why are we currently shut down?

In a nutshell the current reasons that we are in a government shut down are these:

  • Republicans had hoped to dismantle Obamacare
  • Congress members have been trying to dismantle support in each others’ parties

Or more succinctly, we are currently enduring one of the most ineffective congresses of our time.

So what in effect does this mean?

  • An estimated 800.000 Federal employees are furloughed, or an unpaid leave of abscence
  • National parks are closed
  • Passport offices are closed
  • Members of Congress continue to receive pay 
  • Government websites and social media will effectively go silent
  • National Zoos are closed
  • Domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, and other federally-funded efforts will lose funding
  • Certain school receiving federal funding will close
  • Intelligence agencies will lose 86,000 of its civilian employees, and their ability to detect threats will be diminished.
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will lose funding towards vaccinations (including the flu) and disease-prevention research and will be unable to monitor or track outbreaks of infectious diseases.
  • Military paycheck will be on hold despite the fact that military personnel are still working.
  • Coast Guard patrols will be weakened (less patrols in water)
  • Death benefits for military families will be cut
  • Gun permits put on hold
  • Visa applications on hold
  • The National Institutes of Health will not accept patients unless ordered to do so by director
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will halt all safety inspection
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify program is now offline.
  • 45 public fountains will lose water
  • The Federal Housing Administration and the USDA will be unable to process loans
  • The Social Security Administration says it won’t respond to Freedom of Information Act Requests during the shutdown. (via Mother Jones)
  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will stop all new offshore renewable-energy projects
  • The National Zoo’s “Panda-cam” will go dark
  • The Environmental Protection Agency will all but shut down at midnight
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will run out of funding for regular payment checks
  • US Geological Survey will cease scientific research & water analysis
  • Disability payments will cease
  • Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro adoption program will cease to function
  • Winery permits put on hold
  • Food stamps are in essence, gone.
  • Automobile defects will be left un-monitored and recalls will not happen on defective machinery
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will furlough 52% of its staff (including FDA)

Etc, Etc, Etc (or keep reading more effects at Mother Jones)

So what is a ‘government shutdown’? In a nutshell, the simplest way to explain it to family and friends would be:

“A federal clusterfuck”

Let’s hope no wildfires break out or zombie-virus outbreaks happen while we are federally  compromised.

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3 Healthy Celebrity Gossip Alternatives

“Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.”-Joseph Conrad

This has been quite the week on celebrity gossip: Kim and Kanye had a baby (as of yet unnamed), Amanda Bynes…probably did something outrageous, Will.i.am shockingly did not get accused of stealing any more songs, and Demi Lovato made some sort of ‘therapeutic’ new album.

While you were probably following along ravenously as Amanda Bynes continued to tweet utter nonsense and critics tried to speculate on baby names of the newest Kardashian-West…weren’t there more important things going on? Here are 3 things you should be paying attention to instead of the latest celebrity gossip machine:

  1. Hassan Rouhani won the Iran election, becoming a controversial new leader in the shadow of former leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who seeks to patch Iran’s relations with the global community.  Though some of dubious of whether this will bring peace to the region, for the moment it seems that there will be major positive changes in store (The Guardian).
  2. Brazilians are now protesting the FIFA World Cup, as they believe this high-cost event will suck money out of the country and locals will be barred from watching the events due to high ticket costs. Despite violent protests in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, local authorities report that they are confident they can maintain order in the streets (ABC News).
  3. A man from Oregon recently received letters written by his father during World War II. Initially won in an auction and gifted to Ms. Shawn Story as a birthday present, Story didn’t feel right keeping the letters and did research to find Army veteran Dilbert Steele’s (the author) family. She was able to track down his son, Gary Steele, 55, to Portland and gave the letters to him. Containing incredibly personal information, these letters brought closure to Gary Steele, and piece of mind to Story.

So the next time you feel tempted to dive into a fresh new post of PerezHilton.com or People Magazine, take a moment to type ‘world news’ into Google or Bing and read a few news articles that actually matter.

Happy Father’s Day

Also, don’t forget to check out my recent blog article for Likeable Local 🙂

Work / Life Balance and Music

Nicky Romero and Avicii recently (well a little less recently now) released their music video for ‘I Could Be The One’. If you haven’t seen it yet, see below:

In the video a woman who has become fed up with her job is at a critical ‘come to jesus’ moment and feels trapped by the judgements of the society around her. After dreaming of a life free of the stigma, redundancy, and dullness of her current life, she sets out to live the life she has always wanted.

I love this woman’s fierce attitude, but I will agree that kicking sand castles and giving people the bird isn’t really what we should all be aiming for!

Now I won’t try to say this paints a fully accurate portrayal of how to solve work/life balance issues, but it does give a very compelling argument why that balance should be struck. I’m not saying we should all quit our jobs and move to Barbados…but here are a few less caustic things this video may suggest we do:

  • Take some “me time”. It’s important to set aside time to think, to meditate, and to refresh. Just because you can throw yourself headfirst into your job with no breaks doesn’t mean you should. Some simple ways to do this? Go for a walk during your lunch break, plan out a fun date for yourself on the weekend, or maybe treat yourself to something special after a hard assignment!
  • Try new things. Maybe riding a horse down the beach isn’t your thing, but try something new! Take up a new sport, find a new hobby, or maybe even just do something that scares you. No matter what you do, challenge yourself to have a little more fun!
  • Just be ourselves. Part of what makes this video so compelling (besides the fact it is fun to watch) is how the woman is able to finally feel free by expressing her individuality and personality. Always express who you are, and remain genuine! If you are into beaches and horses and dancing the night away, embrace it and make time for yourself to enjoy those things.

Women and Sharks

I’ve wanted to address this issue for a long, long time. No doubt anyone who watches the ABC show ‘Shark Tank‘ has become familiar with the usual suspects: Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John of FUBU, ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Kevin O’Leary, Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greinier of QVC. However, having gone through that listing, something seems a bit off…doesn’t the ‘tank’ only house 5 chairs?

Let’s count ’em…Mark, Daymond, Kevin, Barbara, Robert…where’s Lori? Image courtesy of The New York Times

For some reason, there have always been the same four men sitting in each of the chairs season after season (with the exception of Kevin Harrington in season 1, and Jeff Foxworthy in season 2). Despite the fact that both women are featured as part of the current season’s cast, the two women are never seen together on a single episode. Is this perhaps meant to be a reflection of the disparity of women on corporate boards? Though I have been all-to-ready to hop onto the couch and tune in to watch hopeful Americans see their dreams fulfilled or squashed, the gender inequality represented by the ‘lone woman shark’ had never struck me so much as it has in the current season. In this season of Shark Tank, Lori and Barbara are swapped in and out like accessory handbags while the panel of men is left unaltered: Mark is always beside Daymond, who is always beside Mr. Wonderful, who is beside Barbara/Lori, leaving Robert off in the far corner. This lineup indicates that the only apparent spot for women on Shark Tank is between Robert and Mr. Wonderful, or nowhere at all.

Panel-of-shark-tank

Image courtesy of TVEquals

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Three Easy Ways To Tweet More Effectively

I’ve been noticing an uptick in different no-nos on Twitter recently, and seen many opportunities for companies, individuals, and groups to maximize their twitter interaction. Now granted, I’m only a college grad and ‘what would I know’ about advanced social media campaigns and social media strategy? Well, as it turns out, I know enough not to do these three things:

Let’s get to it! Image courtesy of Creative Guerilla Marketing (they also have a great article if you click this image)

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Common Sense: Shit Not To Do

We interrupt our scheduled program of Viral Monday and Uncommon Verbiage to do a much-needed Public Service Announcement on proper common sense and the internet.

You may have heard recently about a less-than-brilliant quote made by the one and only conservative dingbat Todd Akin, who stated, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Now as if that weren’t insult enough, he went on to say, “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

That moment of ‘oh shit’ when you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake: He’s having it. Image courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor

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Team Pan-Am: Olympic Fashion Critique

I am going to preface this entire write-up by apologizing to anyone that will get offended by this post. This doesn’t reflect the sentiment of any company, corporation, family member, neighbor, or random person on the street. This is entirely my opinion, and should be reviewed objectively as such.
 

Original design by Ralph Lauren, image courtesy of Lansing State Journal

When the designs for the olympic outfits were released, I have to admit that I was quite shocked. Though some of my peers applauded to ‘fashionable’ blazer, the cute shoes, or whatever small accessory adorned the beret, a single word routinely popped up in my mind: Pan-Am. One major issue I have with this, is that there is no reason I should have this mental association. When I see the strong female athletes enter an olympic event, I should only see ‘Team America’ not ‘Team Flight Attendant’. That being said, there is nothing wrong with being a flight attendant: They are lovely and wonderful individuals, and modern flight attendant uniforms have come a long way since the Pan-Am era. However what marched into the London arena last night took me back to the days of Pan-Am, and not in a good way.

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Twitter: It’s Not For Idiots

I was going to end on today’s post regarding Aurora, Colorado today. Then this happened:

Image courtesy of Business Insider.

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Tattoos Taboo: Workplace Acceptable?

In recent years, I’ve been told time and time again that tattoos have no place in the workplace setting. I’ve seen my inked friends often cover up in long sleeves and makeup concealer, or bear their tattoos and face harsh judgement. However, in a recent MSNBC article, it would seem that tattoos are no longer as taboo in the workplace as we might think.

Are they as taboo as we are lead to believe? Image courtesy of Infinite Tattoos.

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“You Look Like Rogue From X-men!”

It’s not often that women my age start to go gray. I’ve known women to don the “wisdom streaks” as early as 18. Some people say it makes me look ‘more mature’ or smarter. Others tell me I look like Rogue from X-men.

The original Rogue. Image courtesy of Marvel Dictionary.

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