Shutdown closes parks, monuments

The first government shutdown in 17 years took hold today in ways large and small.
Associated Press
Oct 1, 2013

Visitors arrived to find "CLOSED" signs at the Statue of Liberty, the Smithsonian and other parks and historic sites across the country. Callers looking for help from the government reached only voicemail. And federal employees were left to wonder when they would return to work.

The first government shutdown in 17 years took hold Tuesday in ways large and small.

About 800,000 federal employees were sent home — a number greater than the combined U.S. workforces of Target, General Motors, Exxon and Google.

"After next week, if we're not working, I'm going to have to find a job," said Robert Turner, a building mechanic at the Smithsonian's American History museum in the nation's capital. He was called in for part of the day to take out the trash, turn off the water and help close up the place.

The effects played out in a variety of ways, from scaled-back operations at federal prosecutors' offices and the FBI to revoked permits for dozens of weddings at historic sites in Washington.

Campers and hikers at the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and other national parks were given two days to pack up and leave, and new visitors were being turned away. St. Louis' landmark 630-foot-high Gateway Arch was off-limits as well.

In Philadelphia, Paul Skilling of Northern Ireland wanted to see the Liberty Bell up close but had to settle for looking at the symbol of democracy through glass. And he wasn't optimistic about the chances of visiting any landmarks in Washington, the next stop on a weeks-long visit.

"Politics is fantastic, isn't it?" he said ruefully.

In New York, tourists who had hoped to see the Statue of Liberty were instead offered an hour harbor cruise.

"There has to be better ways to run the government than to get to a standstill like this," said Cheryl Strahl, a disappointed visitor from Atascadero, Calif. "Why take it out on the national parks?"

The government closings did not stop the launch on Tuesday of the enrollment period for the online insurance marketplaces established under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul — the program at the very heart of the dispute that produced the shutdown.

The two federal employees in orbit around the Earth — NASA astronauts Karen Nyberg and Michael Hopkins — carried on as usual aboard the International Space Station, with essential employees at Mission Control in Houston supporting the lab and its six inhabitants.

There were no TV or web updates, however, as most of NASA's workforce was furloughed.

Anglers headed to the highly anticipated first day of the fall fishing season on North Carolina's Outer Banks found they could not drive onto the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Dozens of goats were taken off ivy-eating duty at Fort Hancock, a recreation area in Sandy Hook, N.J. A KKK rally planned for the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania this weekend was canceled.

Out West, Thora Johannson and her sister wanted to spend one more night at a campground at the Grand Canyon. But they packed up their things and headed home Tuesday, Johannson to San Francisco and her sister to Vancouver, Canada.

"It's a terrible thing to hold the national parks hostage to bickering parties," Johannson said. "This is really sad. People have been saving to come here. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

In Utah, rafting outfitters were not allowed on major rivers, and the state's five national parks closed during what is normally a busy time of year.

"We're dealing with a broken system, a broken Congress," said John Wood, president of Holiday River Expeditions. "They couldn't be doing more to run me out of business."

In the nation's capital, fountains were being turned off on the National Mall and the National Zoo closed. Its beloved panda-cam went dark.

But more than 125 veterans from Iowa and Mississippi walked past barricades at the National World War II Memorial after members of Congress cut the police tape and moved barriers for them.

The IRS suspended audits for the duration of the shutdown, and call centers were left unmanned. In St. Paul, Minn., the voicemail warned callers they "should file and pay their taxes as normal."

The 12 million people who got six-month extensions must still file their returns by Oct. 15. But the agency will not issue tax refunds until the government resumes normal operations.


Darwin's choice

You have to be being paid to suck on the democratic party as you do.

How many unicorns do you have in your yard?


ROTFLMAO!!! You sir need to get back on your alzheimer's meds. If this is about healthcare for Americans, than your statement that 3/4 of Americans agree with you is not even in the ball park. Again, I have trouble believing you were ever a teacher. Simple research would show you that the latest polls show 57% of Americans want to get rid of ACA. I'm glad you are retired, because no child should ever be subjected to such idiocy.


Re: "our efforts to provide health insurance to folks to don't have it."

PULEEZE! Only a Progressive sock puppet could believe that nonsense.

The individual health care premiums were unaffordable before the ACA "mandate", and even with the taxpayer financed subsidies, they will be just a little less affordable for those trapped in Obama's "McJobs" economy.

Where the h*ll are people who are working low paying jobs supposed to come up with an extra thousand of so dollars a yr. in order to pay the unsubsidized portion of the premiums?

Looking forward to the IRS "stealing" taxpayer income tax refunds in order to penalize low wage workers for not buying Obama☭are brand health ins.


Tango: you're allowed to believe the predictions of Obamacare gloom and doom purveyed (only) on conservative media. I choose to just observe what is actually happening. It's working quite well in New York and California - 2 states that moved quickly to implement the law.

The economic problems you outlined were not created or caused by Obama, and you know it. The recession started in 2007, courtesy of YOUR party and it's discredited economic ideas.

It is your party who enacts policies that KEEP poor people poor. From cutting food stamps, to fighting an increase to minimum wage, to fighting Obama's jobs programs, it never ends with Republicans. Meanwhile, they won't make cuts to government subsidies to millionaire farmers.

Seriously, dude. You're fighting a battle in which you and your party have zero credibility.

Dr. Information

Coaster, your party wrote the checks and had control of both houses. FACTS.




Re: "LOSER!!!"

Written by a Medicaid and SSDI recipient. LOL.


Boy did you hit the nail on the head with that one. Oops I'm sorry he claimed to work in health care once. I completely forgot. However, folding towels in the hospital laundry is really not considered a health care profession.


Trust me, ol' deertracker knows ALL about Medicaid.

She wrote this yesterday:

"My mother in law died in a nursing facility.....may she R I P......and the cost to Medicaid was nowhere near 80k."

Since the avg. annual cost is around $80K, I had to wonder what sh*thole of a nursing home did her worthless family put the "old girl" in?

They probably stole whatever money she had to make her Medicaid eligible.


" the economic problems you outlined were not created or caused by Obama, and you know it."

Not disagreeing.

It's just that the bastardized free-market health care exchange program as designed under ACA is structurally and financially flawed.

H*ll, he didn’t even write the d*mn thing! It was sitting on a shelf waiting for the “right” time.

I’ve sold group life, and A&H and also worked for an HMO. I've forgotten more about health ins., trust funds, etc., than you'll ever know.

Despite your ridiculous insistence: Still not a Repub.

It's nice that those of you who enjoy OH taxpayer GUARANTEED health and welfare benefits are the largest trumpeters of this boondoggle.

If ACA is so d*mn good, then why isn't Pres. Obama signing up huh?

As a matter of fact; why aren't YOU?

Darwin's choice

Again, you name the two biggest state failure's in government as your proof??

Hahahahahahahaha !!!!!

Darwin's choice

"Seriously, dude," you've already posted the exact statement, cited the same two failing states as references, word for word, several weeks ago!!

Coasterfan, you're a phony troll.

Crawl back under Obama's desk, don't bump your head, moron.




Re: "LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

A Medicaid and SSDI recipient such as yourself fully understands the meaning of the term.


LOL, don't even bother with deerturd and coasternut, if Obama stoked up the furnace they would fight to see who was first in line to jump in the fire.

Darwin's choice

Who the democrats really look out for:

Darwin's choice

Coasterfan, what about your party's failure here? Funny what you choose to ignore.


The New World Czar

OK, the government is shut down.
The private sector is continuing to run.
What does that tell you about your federal government's effectiveness?


IMO, the following is very telling about Pres. Obama’s political style:

"Mr. Obama didn't meet one-on-one with Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader, until 18 months into his presidency and doesn't call on him now to collaborate."

"Leaders" and presidents know when to talk and how and when to compromise.

Someone said that Pres. Obama enjoys the trappings of the office of the presidency; he just doesn't like the job. It shows.


The Affordable Care Act was passed in both houses of Congress on a partisan vote using legislative gimmicky and then signed into law.

Later it was thrown over to the Supremes.

First the Democrats argued that it was a "mandate” and NOT a “tax."

Then SCOTUS ruled that it was a “tax” and NOT a "mandate."

Then the Democrats said: Yea, that’s what we meant; it’s a “tax.”

Constitutionally, Congress has EVERY right to attempt to repeal taxes.


Blah, blah, blah! Give it a rest you drunk idiot. LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Re: "LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So how big is your monthly SSDI check?

Good that with Medicaid that ACA doesn't affect you - YET. :)


Oh, but the ACA DOES affect him. You forget, $500 billion was stolen from Medicaid and put into obamacare when it was first passed. It will be affecting Medicaid shortly... in a negative way... as it does with most folks.

Darwin's choice

azzhat. Did you LOOSE some of your handouts during the shutdown moron?

You have classic "there's no but to lick" syndrome.....

Get over yourself.


Pity `the poor goats taken off ivy eating duty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darwin's choice

Here is what ALL of this Administration should fear:


Pres. Obama:

“During the course of my presidency eh, I have bent over backwards to work with the eh, Republican Party.

And, have purposefully kept my rhetoric down,”

Amazing that the Sociopath-in-Chief believes his own BS.

The Big Dog's back

Wow! It finally happened. Right wingnuts jumped out of the plane with no parachutes. They'll "fly" for a little while, until they hit the ground.