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.

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Song for Repubs:
Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye
Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye
Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye

Yellow Snow

Song for the Demons ........"The boys are back in town" Thin Lizzy.

Publius

I woke around 5:00 AM this morning, typical for me. I turned on the lights and they came on. I brewed coffee, and my coffee pot worked. I took a shower, and the water was hot. I drove to work and all the traffic lights and street lights were working at 6:45AM.

I stopped at the ATM to deposit a check. It worked.

When I got to work our email was working normally. I had internet acess.

As I drove home for lunch I saw landscapers mowing lawns, city workers repairing traffic lights.

How could this be with the Federal Government shut down?

With all this working, and our Federal Government shut down, how could this possibly be?

What exactly do all these trillions of dollars of expenses actually do for us?

I think we should let the shut down go for several months and find out!

Gardenman

True, you got a point. We could save money on those Social Secuity office staff by laying them off, so we miss some benefits in retirement I am cool with that well if my creditors are, federal money that is channeled in for unemployment benefits those will not be missed, we probably don't need those USDA meat inspectors at Routh Packing I mean look the recent Norwalk virus at Sawmill Creek from infected food I mean nobody died and whats a little sickness, we could all board those planes in Cleveland a lot faster by not having to pass thru TSA checkpoints, then who needs Border Patrol to watch our borders, You know those guy that killed all those Americans on 911 I bet they were nice guys and they would not want to harm you or I if others like they slipped into the US, I mean really do we need those Homeland Security officers checking folks coming into the US do we really need them to delay us at the border checking to see we are not a threat to the US, if some boater is in trouble out on Lake Erie I bet you we could find somebody to out there in their own boat and save them.

Yep, you are right the lights are on, the water is flowing, the coffee is ready, the bank ATM is working ooooops US Bank got robbed on Friday and the FBI was there to investigate and prevent further bank robberies BUT hey the ATM was not robbed and it is still dispensing money. Hey all is well in America lets close the US Government down save the money and PARTY using what we save from paying those people who work for the US Government. Oh my I just looked up and I am pretty sure I saw two commerical jets about run into to each other....you know they should be careful up there when they are flying those planes they could run in to each other. Next time I fly I am not going to fall asleep on the plane but keep lookign out the window and I will let the flight attendant know if I see a plane getting too close to us.

Let's be cool and close the US Government and have a swell old time !!!

The Big Dog's back

Good one.

4shizzle

Right.
People living complacently in their little bubbles until they get popped.

Dr. Information

Nothing of significance is what has been shut down. Everything else is working. The term government shutdown is totally blown out of context.

kURTje

Not to worry. Congress still gets paid.

ohioengineer

Typical media hype story - I can remember when the AP was a legitimate and respected news organization. Anyway, what this story fails to mention is that the majority of the government continues to function, as it has in previous so-called "shutdowns." Of course, they are going to close the national parks first; just like the first things cancelled after a failed school levy are football and band. The establishment wants the voters to feel the pain. But at the end of the day, life goes on. Our military is still protecting us, IRS agents are busy taking our money and air traffic controllers are directing airplanes. Much of what our federal government does is not needed and wasteful and a "shutdown" is the best thing that could happen to this bloated monster called Washington.

The Big Dog's back

Yep, we only need the part of Gov that you need.

Gardenman

For the moment you may have a point based on the non essential services that have been affected. BUT let me ask a question. If this goes on for several weeks into a month plus we all realize that essential services will be severely impacted. Things like FDA oversight, TSA, DA food inspections at meat packing plants, EPA monitoring of water, air etc. Here is the question and not trying to back yo into some political corner. "IF this moves to essential services as I said above does that change your view of a government shutdown and you would say enough is enough OR are you willing to take the so called risk to these essential services and say I am Ok with that for me and my family? " Again, I honestly am not backing you into a corner just looking if your views change with time and severity of the closed services.

Thanks

ladydye_5

How about we stop every DIME that is being spent on FOREIGN AID. No money for Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Crotch-istan, and what ever sand pit that we are aiding. Our own country is heading down the river, people are out of jobs, money, food, healthcare, etc and yet we send BILLIONS to other counties. Most that want to do us harm. Stop all foreign aid.

Yellow Snow

I have mixed feeling on this one. Any report you find says foreign aid is less than 1%. If one cent of my dollar goes to making another's life tolerable, how do you deny them minimal existence, even when pennies count? There's a lot bigger fish than foreign aid.

Gardenman

I agree with you 100% on this one. Cut back on the money we give to all those foreign countries.

I remember well several years ago when we had gone back to Iraq under GWB and of couirse occuppied the country. I went to a club presentation done by the son of a friend of mine. The son was a Major in the US Army and was a Civil Affairs. He was the chief of Civil Affairs for the city of Mosul, Iraq. The US Government was providing per his words to ALL the citizens of Mosul FREE water, FREE electricty as limited as it was, FREE garbage pickup, local residents paid NO TAXES, they even got FREE cable TV via wires strung by US Government contractor. He said how every week he would get called by some local resident for their garbage was not picked up. He said they would say "Hey you invaded our country and now its yours....I want my garbage picked up. He said they would have to sent multiple vehicles to get the garbage for 2 of the three were armor vehicles for safety of the US Army soldiers who picked up the guys garbage.

This Major was in charge of all this in Mosul. He said residents of Mosul also get FREE medical attention from a cut on the finger to heart surgery. Said all paid for by the US Government. WHY for the US wanted to win over the Iraqi population.

My thought was the lady who lived two doors from me had to decide which prescriptions she would fill for her limited income could not pay for two, she had only a light or two on at night to save cost, she had Medicare but was limited on what she could pay to go to the doctore and these Iraqi get all this and more for FREE....something is really wrong here.

Thought how wrong that we give to foreign countries all this and short our own citizens and they PAY TAXES for all this that is sent to Iraq.

Dr. Information

Dems, especially Obama do not know how to cut. They just give, give and give more. Truth.

Noitall
dorothy gale

Agreed!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It is clear that our federal government is "too big to fail". Aside from asking for a bailout, stimulus, or "Cash-for-Congress" program, can we use this embarrassment at the hands of both major parties to actually focus on making sure this can't happen again (preferably without borrowing/printing infinite money, cheat codes are for losers)?

I'm not going all "hurr-durr less gubmmint in mah life", but rather seeking a less centralized government that doesn't come to a screeching halt every time a senator or representative farts the wrong way during a discussion. It's plainly clear that our federal government is super-saturated with responsibilities it cannot handle itself.

Pare them back, re-balance them like an investment portfolio, and/or shift those decisions to the states where the majority of this stuff belongs. I can think of several amendments which would do much to improve our country, one of which is a term limit for members of Congress.

The best part? Because Congress will never do it themselves, we can do it as states instead.

Darwin's choice

Obama gave a great speech today! One of his best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z...

Stop It

This crap only scares those who don't vote or vote without knowing what they vote for. It doesn't scare me and many I know because we stay informed. This is nothing but a dog and pony show with some footstomping and headbanging.

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing." — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

Pterocarya frax...

“There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”
― George W. Bush

coasterfan

"This shutdown isn't about budgets. This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks to don't have it. This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days. I know it's strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is". (from Obama's Oct. 1 speech)

GOP leader Bobby Jindal was right; Republicans need to stop being the stupid party. Polls show that voters overwhelmingly blame Republicans for the gov't shutdown.

Darwin's choice

Do you really believe the crap you post?

How many Syrian rebels are effected by this shutdown?

What do you have to say about this, cheerleader? Democrats!!
http://www.ijreview.com/2013/10/...

How about that speech Obama gave?

coasterfan

I absolutely believe what I post, and so do the 3/4 of Americans who agree with me. And since the only people who disagree are rightwing extremists such as you, my viewpoint is further affirmed.

Look, it's time for you to take the first step of your 12-step Republicans Anonymous recovery program. Repeat after me:

Hi, my name is Darwin. I'm a Republican.

Contango

Re: "the only people who disagree are rightwing extremists,"

So your Progressive authoritarian dogma leaves no room for discussion or compromise?

Beg to differ: You're the extremist.

Dr. Information

3/4 of Americans? You are in a fairytale world. The majority of Americans disapprove of the ACA. You provide no facts, no proof. You just throw down what you want and say "its true, I said it". No wonder you like Obama, he's about the same way.

Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport shares that 52% of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, up slightly from 45% in November 2012.

Google it.

deertracker

I absolutely believe it too coasterfan!

Darwin's choice

No surprise here!

Contango

Re: "I absolutely believe it too"

As a Medicaid and SSDI recipient, you are EXPECTED to agree.

Gotta keep the "milk" from the govt. teat flowing!

Good thing that ACA doesn't affect YOU huh?

Dr. Information

Please provide proof. Your single word means nothing.

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