2-1/2 Cents                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Sunday, October 20, 2013
The Villages

WITHERSPOON PATH CHRONICLE

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SHUT DOWN OR SHUT UP
QUERIES ABOUT GOVERNMENT AGENCIESSHUTDOWN POLITICIANS
Several people have asked me where I find all the neat information I pass on in the Chronicle.  Well, here's a little secret.  I make it up.
 
LOL.  No, I'm just kidding.  I look it up on the internet.  Now that's not saying that everything that you read on the internet is true.  But when you download a story from CNN or NBC, you have to believe that someone there believes it to be true.

For instance, in last weeks Chronicle, there was a list of Government agencies that were shutting down (furloughing the majority of their workers).  Now how could I possibly know who they were.  Well, I just went on GOOGLE and did a search for "Government Shutdown Agencies."

What I got back was 164,000,000 results.  Ouch, too many to go look at.  But I know that Google returns their results by "highest significance" so the ones at the top of their list are the best matches for what I asked for.  In fact, the very first one was titled "Government shutdown: What's closed, what's open? - CNN.com".  When I opened it up, it took me to
"http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/09/politics/
government-shutdown-impact/" and there it was, a six column table that could be copied straight into an Excel file and then manipulated.

For example, it shows that for the Social Security Administration: (1) their status will be "Open/Mostly open", they have a total of 62,343 employees, 44,337 will remain at work, with 18,006 being furloughed.  The comment about the SSA is "Necessary implication act allows for partial functionality."

On the other hand, the Smithsonian will be "Closed/Not able to function", with 4,202 employees, 688 remaining at work, 3,514 being furloughed, and a comment that says "All museums would close.  Expected employees include those who protect the collections, feed the animals, etc.  Volunteers aren't allowed to help out.  Of 4,202 employees, 688 would be excepted and expected to work.  2013 contingency plan."

So now you know how it's done.  Lots and lots of www research goes into each article.  Well, except the cartoons.  That's pretty straight-forward (but time consuming).  You just get on Google (again), select images, type in a subject and it does all the searching for you.  Yes, there are still hundreds of cartoons to go through, making sure each one is suitable and readable but that's the fun of it.
So what are our congressmen and senators doing during this shutdown.  Well, for one thing, they're trying to make us think that they're doing something important [really earning their money] because you know they're still earning a salary.  Yes, you can't really shutdown our government when you shut down our government.  Heaven forbid.  Who would be there to start it back up.  So we have to pay these same politicians that shut us down to do things that they think are important.  Isn't that what got us in this mess to start with?

For example, it took them 10 full days to realize that they had shut down death benefits to military families.  Things like paying for funeral costs for a fallen soldier (that they considered an essential employee).  And they forgot to furlough the video recorders that taped the entire event in congress, showing them doing such a humanitarian thing.  Well, heaven forbid, that the American people remember that it was you that stopped the payments to start with.

So how's the shutdown doing?  Glad you asked.  When it began on October 1st, the federal government estimated that 800,000 federal workers were deemed "non-essential" and furloughed.  That went well, until the Pentagon recalled almost all of its 350,000 civilian workers.  Thousands of other wokers in the Social Security Administration also went back to work and other federal agencies have tempoarily (?) recalled employees.  So what is the real definition of "Government Shutdown"?  Give everyone a couple of days off, tell them to take a long weekend, you see where this is going, right?  The question becomes "When is a shutdown not really a shutdown?"

One private citizen (Chris Cox) stepped in and began cutting grass in areas between the Lincoln and WWII memorials.  He's a South Carolina native who now lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. who basically said "These are our memorials.  Do they think we're just going to let them go to hell?"  I guess the South really did rise (to the occasion) again.




Atta Boy, Chris.  But you know you won't get paid for this.  Too many politicians need the money.

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