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Government Space The Almighty Buck United States

Another Science Facility Bites the Dust, Temporarily 193

Posted by timothy
from the spending-bills-must-originate-in-the-house dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, the latest victim of the U.S. government shutdown, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory shut its doors and essentially mothballed all three of its radio telescope facilities: the Very Large Array or VLA (think Jodie Foster, Contact); the Green Bank Telescope, and the Very Long Baseline Array or VLBA. While the ALMA telescope is not yet affected (mainly due to it being run by a consortium of European, Japanese, Chilean and U.S. organizations), the U.S. funds for that will soon also dry up. Not only does this furlough most of the ~550 employees, it has also thrown a monkey wrench into many long-term carefully planned observations (to the tune of wasting half a million dollars and a year's worth of work). Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society also has a commentary on the closure — and a plea to 'stop the madness.'"
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Another Science Facility Bites the Dust, Temporarily

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  • by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Friday October 04, 2013 @11:57PM (#45042243)

    Makes you wonder what we'll miss in the night sky. If I were an alien that read slashdot, I would know that the time to strike us now!

  • They have closed many national parks and government websites, but The Healthcare Insurance Market Place is open. Are not 'selective shutdowns' illegal for political gain? U.S. Pres acting like a dictator. Also noticed he shutting down private businesses. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10/04/park-rangers-guard-inn-parking-lot-from-guests-during-shutdown/ [theblaze.com]
    • by __Paul__ (1570) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @12:09AM (#45042285) Homepage

      You conveniently forgot to mention that the military is still being paid.

      You could save a fortune if you defunded them and brought them all home.

      • Kinda... Base pay. But hazzard pay, and many other bonuses that can be up to half the paycheck are still out. And base comasaries are closing as well.
        • by wbr1 (2538558)
          Hazzard pay? Is our military jumping muscle cars over ditches and running from Roscoe P. Coletrain?
      • by MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @12:56AM (#45042445)

        The military is still being paid, but they are no longer sending feeds of sporting events ( including the NFL ) to the soldiers.
        They are however, keeping Camp David and military golf courses open ( which he plays a lot on ).

        On other notes. Republicans in the House passed a resolution to keep funding NIH research ( into things like childrens cancer ), but a party line vote in the Senate killed it. They also "shutdown" the WWII monument. This despite the fact that it remained open during other shutdowns. This despite the fact that it is open 24/7 but only manned during working hours. Veterans arriving found the monument blocked off by "Barry-cades". They were not to be stopped and simply went around. So to save the money for the shutdown the adminstration hired people to wire the Barry-cades together.

        Oh and the White House chefs are considered essential. They have not been furloughed. Guess they are needed to bake the cakes.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 05, 2013 @01:37AM (#45042559)

          That is some petty, small-minded thinking. Of course the Republicans are going to push for gradually refunding the government in a series of small bills, it alleviates public pressure on the shutdown. If they had their way the shutdown would only pertain to Obamacare.

          So they put forth these bills that they know won't pass so they can blame the Democrats on keeping things closed. It riles up their base of narrow-minded twats who get 90% of their daily news intake from ultra-conservative loudmouths on talk radio and Drudge Report.

          But that talk radio will conveniently omit the fact:

          1) The bill is law. The debate is settled. It's been signed into law. The court has ruled. The president has been re-elected, he has been endorsed by the majority of voting people to be on the right track.
          2) Conservative lawmakers planned on using "the power of the purse" to get their way -- i.e. shut down government.
          3) The House is chosing to abide by the "Hastert Rule" and impeding a vote on the senate's version of the bill. That bill would pass, but unless there is a "majority of the majority" likely to vote on the bill the bill will not come to a vote. This means the Republican Party, already fracturing from their reeling defeats in previous elections, is hostage to the Tea Party, a party that holds views dramatically right of most people.

          • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

            "1) The bill is law. The debate is settled. It's been signed into law. The court has ruled. The president has been re-elected, he has been endorsed by the majority of voting people to be on the right track." - The "shutdown" is also law, signed into law by President Obama himself. The debate here is about a new law authorizing new discretionary spending. The Republicans in the House were also re-elected and endorsed by their constituents while running on a platform of repealing the ACA. Elections have conse

        • They also "shutdown" the WWII monument. This despite the fact that it remained open during other shutdowns. This despite the fact that it is open 24/7 but only manned during working hours. Veterans arriving found the monument blocked off by "Barry-cades". They were not to be stopped and simply went around. So to save the money for the shutdown the adminstration hired people to wire the Barry-cades together.

          The Democrats and Barack Obama did not personally call the Parks department to "shutdown" particular monuments if that's what you are implying. I'm pretty sure the Parks department has a detailed plan for the shutdown that didn't involve the President or the Senate. It doesn't have to make sense to you and me but that's their call as the Parks department is in charge.

          What you have really is that the Republicans want to shut everything down but don't want the political blame for shutting things down.

          • by khallow (566160)

            The Democrats and Barack Obama did not personally call the Parks department to "shutdown" particular monuments if that's what you are implying.

            [...]

            What you have really is that the Republicans want to shut everything down but don't want the political blame for shutting things down.

            Let's not get hasty here and claim things that just might not be true. Last I checked the NPS really was going out of their way to close things down which hadn't been closed down in previous shutdowns. Who knows, that might have been due to a direct call from Obama or merely strongly implied in a meeting with the Secretary of the Interior.

            Second, Republicans are known to want to shut down Obamacare to the point of forty-something votes to that effect.

            • Let's not get hasty here and claim things that just might not be true. Last I checked the NPS really was going out of their way to close things down which hadn't been closed down in previous shutdowns.

              Please bring up a credible citation other than some GOP website that heard it from someone who overheard from their friend. Something official. I bet you can't. Besides that point, the NPS != Democrats or Barack Obama. The NPS is made of career government employees, many of whom have (and will serve) multiple administrations.

              Who knows, that might have been due to a direct call from Obama or merely strongly implied in a meeting with the Secretary of the Interior.

              After what you said above, now, you are going to insinuate unsubstantiated rumor or lies? Personally I don't think that the President gets involved with these details. People some

        • by Teckla (630646)

          Republicans in the House passed a resolution to keep funding NIH research ( into things like childrens cancer ), but a party line vote in the Senate killed it.

          You should be happy the Democrats aren't willing to negotiate with the terrorists (Republicans). The Republicans are trying to do an end-run around democracy itself. That the Republicans are willing to do this should scare the hell out of everyone, no matter what your opinion of Obamacare is.

          • by sumdumass (711423)

            Democracy would seem to require the input of all involved. Not negotiating would literally be the end run around democracy. Perhaps you meant an end run around what you want?

            Calling the republicans terrorist because they are using valid and existing tools of the trade to participate within this republic- and those tools have been used by democrats in the past 40 years as well, is just another symptom of a mindset that doesn't jive with reality.

            In the last 40 years, there have been 17 shut downs, Of the 17 s

      • Actually, the cost of bringing them all home would be VERY expensive. It cost money to get them there, and it costs money to bring them home. But, if you bring them home for long enough then you might save money in the long term. But since the military is paid salary and not hourly, I'm betting the cost savings would take years to reap.

        And if you think you'll bring them home "during the shutdown" I can guarantee that you'll definitely be spending more money in the long run. But I don't think this was you

        • We wanted this. We asked for it by voting in these idiots. And by "We" that just means the majority.

          Nope. The Republicans control the House of Representatives despite not having a nationwide overall majority. They are in power solely because the voting districts are gerrymandered in such a way as to amplify their power and dilute the Democrats'.

          • But its not like we didn't know where the lines were drawn. All of these problems are created by humans, managed by humans, and controlled by humans. If we don't like the situation we've put ourselves in, then we should change them. If we didn't we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

    • The "Pisga Inn" is a privately operated concession in a building owned and on land leased from the federal government.

      http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/pisgah-inn-closes-because-government-shutdown/nbFm2/ [wsoctv.com]

      That I think implies that the site is protected by federal police, and in light of the widespread shutdown it seems plausible that they felt it couldn't be properly supervised. They may have their hands full as it is.

      • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

        That I think implies that the site is protected by federal police, and in light of the widespread shutdown it seems plausible that they felt it couldn't be properly supervised. They may have their hands full as it is.

        Right... even though federal police are considered "essential" and are still working? These private business reports are places with contracted leases that weren't closed during previous "shutdown"s. They produce revenue for the government, they don't consume it.

        What right do the Interior Department people have to violate their lease and keep them from operating? Because they're trying to throw the biggest bureaucratic temper tantrum possible?

  • by stenvar (2789879)

    Obama is choosing what to close and what not to close. Closing these facilities, national parks, monuments, etc. is pure politics on his part. There are plenty of other things he could cut, and he could have cut a long time ago.

    • by hrvatska (790627)

      Obama is choosing what to close and what not to close. Closing these facilities, national parks, monuments, etc. is pure politics on his part. There are plenty of other things he could cut, and he could have cut a long time ago.

      Without funding from a continuing resolution, how would Obama keep these facilities, national parks, monuments, etc. funded and running?

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        (1) By avoiding the problem altogether and negotiating with Republicans well ahead of time.

        (2) By setting different priorities; after all, most federal employees are still working, he simply sent those home that had the biggest PR impact.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      If this plays out like I think it will, you will devoutly wish for a day when the Affordable Care Act, Obama, or partisan politics was something you might be concerned about. We are headed for a time when such concerns were the good old days.
      • by stenvar (2789879)

        If this plays out like I think it will, you will devoutly wish for a day when the Affordable Care Act, Obama, or partisan politics was something you might be concerned about. We are headed for a time when such concerns were the good old days.

        Oh, you are so right, because the way I think it will play out is that the Democrats win and keep raising taxes and spending more and more on useless federal programs benefiting Obama's donors. And the result will be to bankrupt our nation and destroy our economy. And w

    • by hey! (33014)

      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 no

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        So -- Obama should order even more national park employees to work without pay?

        No, Obama should have shown some presidential leadership and ability to compromise to prevent this mess altogether. That's his job.

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

        But they are getting paid; they will receive back pay when the shutdown ends.

        Right now, the shutdown means a paid vacation for government workers, and these are non-essential gove

        • by hey! (33014)

          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 work

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            If you haven't saved a few months worth of income, it's your own fault. You can do that no matter what your income may be.

            And it's something every one of us has to deal with; a government furlough certainly beats bankruptcy or job loss, something all of us have to face.

            As for what the Republicans want, they use whatever means they have of pressuring the president. I think they are playing this wrong, but their political ineptitude doesn't make Obama's failures any less significant.

  • Maybe you should find some less fickle patrons.

  • by varmfskii (2910763) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @12:39AM (#45042399)
    In the early 90s and losing my job due to lost funding.
  • by Optimal Cynic (2886377) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @01:20AM (#45042511)
    They should include legislative salaries in the shutdown, that would encourage them. Put in a constitutional amendment - when a budget for the United States is not in effect, Congressional representatives and senators shall not be paid.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      That gets brought up every time, and it's a terrible idea. It would feel good, sure, but you gotta remember that most Congressmen are already filthy rich.

      Emphasis on most. Some of them aren't, and they would be forced to cave in order to afford their rent. This country is enough of a plutocracy as it is. We'd best not give the rich yet another tool to extract concessions from the people.

    • by dkf (304284)

      They should include legislative salaries in the shutdown, that would encourage them. Put in a constitutional amendment - when a budget for the United States is not in effect, Congressional representatives and senators shall not be paid.

      I'd rather defund the salaries of congressional security workers. Let legislators continue, but let them do so while worrying about what some crazy with a gun might do.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens when people vote with their arshole. The american people get the government they deserve, and right now they have decided to give the keys of the kingdom to a bunch of science hating, bible thumper, retarded tea baggers republicans.
    Maybe the few intelligent republicans still in Congress should fork the party. Call it Republican 2.0. Otherwise the US of A will be the laughing stock of the world for decades to come (ot at least until the next world war).

  • Has the HAARP project been impacted yet? If so, can you folks tell the change in weather patterns? Lotsa rain, I'm sure?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Frequency_Active_Auroral_Research_Program [wikipedia.org]

  • Both sides won't compromise so its both party's fault. Meanwhile, there are the funds and staff to update various websites to say they are shutdown, close down parks, blockade monuments, etc. And the healthcare.gov website is dysfunctional for almost a week?

    And we are supposed to feel "sorry" for the government and its employees because they are a victim of the incompetence in Washington and they depend mostly on the federal government for funds?

    Those of us in the private sector working outside of governm

    • by Xyrus (755017)

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

      I keep seeing this and it's bullshit. The house won't allow a vote on the senate budget bill because the neo-fascist Tea-Party won't allow the vote to take place with ACA funding in the bill. They're holding the budget hostage because they have failed on numerous other occasions to get ACA repealed using legitimate legislative channels. So now they're resorting to sleazy tactics like this one (and now that they've done it, how much do you want to bet we will see more of this?).

      The senate has ALREADY APPROVE

    • by Mashdar (876825)
      Groups A and B agree that item 1 should be passed. Group B believes that item 2 should be passed. Group B will not vote for item 1 until item 2 is part of the deal. There is no way to say in this circumstance that Group A is a faulty party, as both groups agree that item 1 should be passed and Group A would pass it immediately. The only leverage Group B extracts from withholding item 1 is the "gun to your head" sort. Everyone agrees that item 1 should pass, but Group B will not vote for it because they wa
    • by hey! (33014)

      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, nam

    • "Both sides won't compromise so it's both their fault?" What a moronic statement. I hope that if you ever get mugged on the street, the police will sit back and declare that it's your fault you got shot because you refused to compromise.
  • I desperately love science and space exploration. I find the lack of funding for such an almost-criminal neglect of our longest-term future.

    HOWEVER....

    At some point, we simply can't afford everything we want.

    The US has been overspending for what, 55 years? We are the wealthiest country ever in history, yet we cannot pay for everything we want to have. We are now $16 TRILLION in debt.

    This is NOT a partisan issue - both parties cheerfully castigate the other for spending, while pouring money at their speci

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      both parties are in the pockets of various large corporations that *make money* from government spending. lawmakers invest on the basis of their insider information and infuence. they pay lip service to the debt and spending, but they really don't want to turn down the gravy spigot.

    • Science research and development, and related technologies, are what drives economies in the long term. Without doing the things you need to do in space science, medical research, geology, AI, philosophy, mathematics, etc. eventually you will be economic and technolgical sitting ducks -- like the indiginous populations around the world were in times of colonization. Many in the US know this, and it is not as stupid a country as it seems. Worrying completely about internal social problems IMO is self-defeati

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