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Comment Re:Well duh. (Score 5, Insightful) 668

Really? Do you honestly believe there will be some disease outbreak because a government bureaucrat wasn't present to check a box on a form that only the allowable level of rat feces was present?

As a matter of fact, I do. It's not like outbreaks of foodborne illnesses are rare. Major outbreaks happen in the US every year or two, and smaller outbreaks are contained all the time before they get big. If there's an E. coli outbreak in lettuce or listeria in hamburger, who do you think tracks it down to the source and tells all the supermarkets which food to take off the shelves? The food safety fairies?

You can be complacent about food borne illness because government bureaucrats (and scientists, engineers and information technologists) keep contamination in American food to manageable levels. Worldwide, the third most common cause of death is diarrhoeal diseases, most of which are food or water borne,

I've never worked with the FDA, but I've worked with the CDC as a contractor. I happened to be at the Fort Collins DVBID one time when they were scrambling a team to investigate an outbreak of some mysterious hemorrhagic fever in Africa. People were fleeing the area but the CDC's team was going in. Why do they do that kind of thing? So whatever it was that had people bleeding out of their eyeballs never finds its way over here. People just *assume* that things like Yellow Fever, Dengue or Malaria just don't happen here in the US. They never stop to consider that this is not a natural state of affairs. We used to have that stuff all the time. You just don't see all the hard work that goes into making Yellow Fever something most Americans have never heard of. I have -- the zoologists, epidemiologists,physicians and veterinarians who provide this "non-essential service."

I've had this very same argument with a guy who was blase about losing one of our meteorological satellites. "Hurricanes don't kill many people," he said. I wanted to grab the blockhead by the collar and shake him. What would have happened if people only had two days notice with Sandy? Or with Katrina or Hurricane Andrew? Complacent idiot.

Comment Re:that's Obama's choice (Score 1) 193

Would I take a few weeks of extra paid vacation for a comparable delay in receiving my paycheck? You bet!

That's fine for you, if you've got plenty of cash sitting in the bank. The people who empty the trash bins and wash the floors probably aren't sitting on a couple of months of living expenses in cash.

And what about the "essential" employees? The police and the park rangers and animal keepers at the zoo? Just what are they getting out of this?

There's nothing for Obama to compromise with here; we're talking about a "continuing resolution", whose function is to keep things running *as-is* until Congress works out a new budget. If the Tea Party wants to de-fund Obamacare, they can put that into the *budget*. Nothing is stopping them, except their lack of votes.

Comment Re:Brilliant PR (Score 1) 341

Well, according to TFA:

This includes employees who are unable to work because the government facility where they perform their work is closed, or their work requires a government inspection that cannot be completed, or we’ve received a stop work order.

It seems reasonable to furlough people if they have no place to work or if they can't get anything done during the shutdown. Which is not to say that Lockheed isn't *also* taking advantage of the situation to do other stuff

Still people have to accept that the bad things that happen after a government shutdown aren't *all* just PR and political posturing. You can't shut down the government and expect everything to continue as if nothing happened, although evidently some people did expect exactly that.

Comment Re:The government wants you to hurt. (Score 1) 341

Well, let's take the WW2 memorial barricades. As the linked article says it's supposed to be open 24 hours/day, even though it's only staffed during the daytime. So why put up barricades to prevent people from visiting?

My question is this: do you people think the trash visitors leave behind disposes of itself? Or do you think that groundskeepers should be forced to work without pay?

Comment Re:So the government is a victim of itself? (Score 1) 193

Both sides won't compromise so its both party's fault.

One does not logically follow from the other. The details matter.

Suppose I'm holding three apples that belong to you. When you ask for them back, I announce that I'm going to keep two of them. By your logic both of us are at fault, because there's a compromise position: I give you two apples and keep one of them. Both of us get less than we want, but more than we might get if we continue bickering until the apples rot.

By *my* logic, I'd be at fault because I failed to do something I ought to have done, namely give you back your apples.

I hear these false equivalency arguments all the time, and quite frankly they're idiotic. They could only be true if both sides in a dispute were always equally right.

Comment Re:that's Obama's choice (Score 1) 193

I once worked for a company that ran a deficit ten years running, and stayed in business. The secret was that it was growing; income and expenditures were on parallel growth tracks, but income lagged slightly. By the time the bills came due there was cash on hand to pay them.

When governments do this, it's called "Reaganomics".

Comment Re:that's Obama's choice (Score 1) 193

So -- Obama should order even more national park employees to work without pay? You do realize that the folks policing the barricades aren't being paid, right? Congress holds the power of the purse, and for now the purse is closed.

If it were *your* paycheck that was being withheld, you wouldn't call not being forced to work without pay "pure politics".

It's not a matter of Obama choosing to "cut" some things and not others. He can't pay anyone to work, but as president he can order some of them to work nonetheless. Even that is regulated by Federal law, since making somebody work incurs an obligation that must be paid later, something Obama can't do on his own. At most he has some leeway in interpreting which jobs are essential, and a lot of that is common sense. The park ranger who patrols the WW2 memorial is essential to public safety. The groundskeeper who picks up their trash is not.

Comment Aaron Swartz *did* destroy himself... (Score 2) 362

with a length of rope.

It's dangerous and futile to assign blame in a suicide to anyone other than a victim. Swartz's death is not MIT's fault.

That doesn't mean that mean that MIT is off the hook for killing a plea bargain deal that JSTOR was happy with. That was wrong, but it would have been wrong even had Swartz not taken his life.

Comment Well duh. (Score 5, Insightful) 668

They've furloughed IRS employees. Does *that* make financial sense? They've shut down FDA food inspection. Does *that* make financial sense, if we count the cost to the nation of food borne illness? This shutdown is about many things, but "financial sense" is not one of them.

We live in a country full of idiots who say things like "Keep the government out of my Medicare," without realizing that Medicare *is* a government program. Many more understand that things like the military or NIH cancer research are part of the gummint, but only on an intellectual level. On a visceral level they only associate the government with things they don't like, such as pollution regulation. The stuff they *do* like apparently just happens, as far as they're concerned.

So put yourself in the shoes of the zookeeper who has to take care of the pandas as the National Zoo. Pandas don't stop eating or shitting because Speaker of the House doesn't have the balls to bring a clean continuing resolution bill to the floor. So you've still got to show up to feed them and muck out their enclosure, only now you're not being paid. Your landlord still wants paying; the grocery store still wants paying, the daycare center you leave your kids at so you can go to this job still wants paying, but *you* don't get paid.

Wouldn't *you* pull the plug on the panda-cam? If you *don't*, people *will* say, "look, we shut the government down but things are still working." Yes they *are* that stupid. So you pull the plug so they'll understand that things like the pandas being cared for just don't "happen" on their own. Sure, people get pissed off, but they're not paying for the panda cam so they can lump it. Not seeing Mei Xiang and her cub isn't going to kill anyone. They weren't paying for panda cam anyway; that was paid for with a grant from corporate sponsorship, so if anyone has a beef with this, it'd be Ford Motor Company.

Comment Re:Funny how different news outlets react (Score 1) 608

Well, I think gunfire on the capitol. grounds *is* a legitimate news story that Americans need to know about. However it's far too early to have an opinion on the events. What bugs me isn't that the event is *covered*, it's that in lieu of facts news outlets spread speculation. There's very little factual information as of yet to report upon.

Comment Re:Fucking idiots (Score 1) 1532

Isn't the food safety and inspection program funded by user fees from the agricultural/packing industry?

That's Socialism.
That's always been Socialism.
The fact that I never mentioned it's Socialism before a black man got into the White House is irrelevant, I've always known that is Socialism.

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Comment Re:Fucking idiots (Score 3) 1532

We'd be better off with a slim majority republican house and senate

Considering that in the last election 1.4 million more people voted Democrat than Republican for the House, and 10.1 million more people voted Democrat than Republican for Senate, your proposal sounds Fair and Balanced.

Just about everyone on here will want to blame the Republicans but in reality it takes two tango and the Democrats don't want to negotiate

Yep.... it takes two to tango... if the Senate voted 41 times to pass a draconian gun control law knowing they didn't have the votes to ever pass it the House, and then the Senate refused to pass any budget unless the budget also contained the gun control law they wanted, yep..... the House Republicans would be equally at fault for "failing to negotiate" when they repeatedly voted a budget without the unrelated Gun Control legislation attached.

The House Republicans aren't trying to pass a budget with reduced or eliminated funding for Obamacare.... they are trying to attach a non-budget piece of legislation to the budget bill.... threatening (and following through on the threat) to nuke the goddamn national economy if they aren't given their unrelated new non-budget law.

the Democrats don't want to negotiate they want to use the shut down as a political tool

You're right the Senate Democrats didn't negotiate.... the Senate Democrats passed the Budget sent to them by House Republicans.
That warrants emphasis.
Senate Democrats passed the Republican's budget.
They passed the budget from House Republicans without argument and without modification, other than dropping the non-budget legislation that the House sent along with the budget.

There is no middle ground anymore theres the far left and the far right

Some people say the sun rises in the east, others say the sun rises in the west. Obviously the truth is somewhere in the middle.

There were all those radical rightwing TeaParty legislator elected, and all those radical leftwing Occupy legislators elected, and the Republican Party letting those TeaParty nutjobs run the show, and the Democrats letting those Occupy nutjobs run the show, and both sides are equally to blame.

Oh wait, no.... Democrats haven't been electing wingnuts, much less let them take control.

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