The Shutdown Hits Home

The Shutdown Hits Home

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Friends, in his own opinion, ProfessorRoush has done an exceptional job at Garden Musings, avoiding any mention of politics here over the now 3+ years I’ve blogged. Only those who know my tendency to rant over seemingly minute issues can fathom what a struggle that has been, but I’m going to make an exception today. The dam has broken. The Rubicon has been crossed. The …. oh, you know what I mean.

Last night, I was at a Riley County Extension Board meeting and the local horticultural agent reported that he and the ag agent had recently seen a new “weed,” Tragia sp. and had visited the plant experts at K-State to identify it. Now, Tragia, also known as NoseBurn, is not new, since two species have been reported in Kansas, but it’s fairly rare and I hadn’t seen it before either. In fact, it’s not described at kswildflower.org, my go-to Kansas native plant site. So I pulled out my iPhone and went to plants.usda.gov/, where, to my surprise, I received the following message:

My Fellow Gardeners, that is way beyond absolutely ridiculous. This is the ultimate evidence that the bureaucrats are playing games. I’m in a fortunate place in my life, not old enough for social security or medicare, not directly dependent on the federal government for income, and not planning any trips presently to a national park. So I’ve been personally unaffected by the “Shutdown” and as long as the military and senior citizens get paid, I have enough of a libertarian streak that I’m happy for a respite from government. I was a little aggravated yesterday over the news of closing of the WWII memorial; I mean, the place is for walking around—do we have to barricade it off? But to shut down a running informational website? I understand that the information may not be immediately updated, but I’m sure that I can manage without the absolute latest information on a botanical specimen. I suppose someone might offer the feeble explanation that no one is around to make sure Server #2115 doesn’t overheat and subsequently burn down Washington, but the USDA plant database isn’t the only thing on those servers and I suspect that computer technicians in charge of running servers are on the “critical” list of personnel anyway.

Recognize that I’m not pointing a specific finger here. Blame the Democratic senators or blame the Tea Party, but they are all representing the people who elected them, and we got what we asked for, stalemate, which is almost as good as not having a government. Shutting the USDA plant database down, however, is nothing but a political ploy. A pox on both their Houses.

Posted by

James Roush
on October 4, 2013 at 8:17 am, in the category Guest Rants, Ministry of Controversy.

15 Comments
    • Misti
    • 1st January 1970

    I work in an area that requires me to get geospatial data and on the side look at the USDA plant database and I was thoroughly pissed off on Tuesday when I couldn’t access data. For some reason the USFS has been nice enough to leave their data up.

    • admin
    • 6th September 2012

    Same with National Park Service web pages. Sure I can’t visit the parks today, but you won’t even let me plan a future trip? There is no technical reason I can think of that these sites couldn’t remain active — unless they did have to shut down a bunch of servers.

    • Laura Bell
    • 16th February 2016

    Yeah. They do. But some are magnanimously saying they will not accept the money, or they will accept it but donate it (tax write-off?). For them, it’s an option. Unlike the thousands (millions?) who have this forced on them and face actual economic hardship because of it.

    • ProfessorRoush
    • 19th February 2017

    Alan, that’s a rhetorical question, right?….in fact, the last I read, even those who didn’t WANT to get paid during the shutdown got paid; there’s no way for them to opt out.

    • admin
    • 27th May 2017

    Actually, I know that at least Kurt Schrader (D, Oregon) has said that he will donate his pay to charity.

    • Stella B
    • 25th June 2017

    So far about 100 Senators and Congresspersons have said they will donate their pay to various causes.

    • terry
    • 26th August 2017

    as a fed, let me give you my perspective. The servers are shut down to protect them. The memorials are closed because there’s no one to watch for vandals. There are a few employees to keep an eye on things but most of us are home trying to figure out how to pay for all the fees public schools are having to pass on to us when we’re not getting a paycheck. And quite frankly if it takes a terribly minor inconvenience to you too remind you how much you get from those of us not getting paid, it seems fair.

    • ProfessorRoush
    • 28th August 2017

    Is it a minor inconvenience Terry, or are is there an active attempt to make sure we all feel the hurt?….I saw news reports last night of some kind of pioneer farm that is run entirely without federal money, but who was told they had to close because the farm SITS on federal land. Barricades and everything.

    • terry
    • 5th September 2017

    There’s a difference between a dumb server that simply serves out static webpages and an Oracle (or other database) system that creates dynamic, data driven web pages. One can sit there and ruin. The other requires nightly maintenance. If you hack into a static webpage, you can maybe change the picture to something embarrassing. If you hack into a database you can do some real damage. If there’s no admin there, it can be catastrophic. All the admins are busy applying for unemployment.

    • admin
    • 8th September 2017

    Thanks Terry — that’s exactly the insight I was missing.

    • terry
    • 9th September 2017

    So was it the land that had to close because there’s no one there to keep an eye on the federal part? Was there a manned gate? We’re there contracts with the farm that had to be put into abayence? Did the farm have agreements about patrols from fed employees who are no longer there?

    • Rachel Clark
    • 10th September 2017
    • skr
    • 11th September 2017

    The server is still up and running they just aren’t letting you access any of the beneficial pages. They are only allowing access to the shutdown page. That means they still have all the same maintenance and security needs as a fully running site. They aren’t saving any money at all.

    • terry
    • 11th September 2017

    Show me one time when that calculus was made.

    • JTG
    • 11th September 2017

    See “Washington Monument Syndrome“

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