Shutdown and government politics slows some science work


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The partial government shutdown appears to be causing problems for some researchers, some of it fake and some of it real.

The article doesn’t put it that way. Instead, it sells the shutdown as a terrible tragedy, blocking all work by scientists, a claim that simply isn’t true if you read the article honestly.

The real problems include cases where the closure of government buildings prevents scientists from accessing their labs or research samples. The fake problems include things like this:

Rattlesnakes, bears, hurricanes, and freezing weather haven’t stopped ecologist Jeff Atkins from taking weekly hikes into Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park for the past 8 years to collect water samples from remote streams. But Atkins is now facing an insurmountable obstacle: the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, in its third week.

Park managers have barred Atkins from entering since 22 December 2018, when Congress and President Donald Trump failed to agree on a deal to fund about one-quarter of the federal government, including the National Park Service. That has shut down the sampling, part of a 40-year-old effort to monitor how the streams are recovering from the acid rain that poisoned them in past decades.

There is no reason this scientist can’t enter the park and get his samples. In fact, Trump administration policy has kept the national parks open, even if no one is working there. I am thus very suspicious of the claim that he is “barred” from entering.

Then there are claims that government scientists are forbidden from attending conferences. Bah. They aren’t slaves. If the conference is that important, they should go on their own dime. And if they aren’t willing to go, it makes me suspect their work is not that important. In fact, I know this, as I have watched many government scientists attend conferences merely to tout the wonderful things their government agency is accomplishing, not to really report on science.

The article also makes a big deal about the loss of pay to these individual scientists. My heart bleeds. For one thing, as government workers they are generally paid at a far higher rate, with many more benefits, than most taxpayers, who for the past decade have been suffering far worst economic times. These government scientists can afford the loss of pay for a few weeks.

For another, based on what has happened after all other previous shutdowns, Congress will approve their pay during this time, meaning this shutdown is really nothing more than an extra paid vacation for them.

I thus find myself having little sympathy for these scientists. In fact, the facts in this article make me inclined to think the taxpayer might benefit from getting rid of them all.

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10 comments

  • Cotour

    For once in more than a life time we have a long term thinking, American interests and accomplishment oriented president in the White House.

    Trump one way or the other wins this long term and fundamental political warfare issue.

    The Democrats and their “A wall is an immorality” argument is on its face weak and fraudulent, especially when the Democrat leadership and the vast majority of actual Americans live behind gates and fences and walls and sturdy locked doors as they live and sleep in the safety of their secure homes. The majority of rational Americans, party affiliation aside, understand this and clearly reject the Democrats argument, if not on its face they reject it intuitively.

    Nancy Pelosi and the politicos that parrot her insist that all Americans are stupid, which is the default position of all high minded Liberal Democrats related to their fellow citizens. Remember how smart and intellectually superior they tell everyone they are? And Americans supposedly look to them, these moronic, pedantic, political operative nanny state usurpers of freedom and wealth politicos for their common sense. Totally self deluded and total BS.

    Even the most fervent Trump hating Liberal Democrat individuals in my experience will readily agree with me with very little probing on this wall and security issue. And they hate it and the fact that I will remind them of it when needed.

    The American borders that are violated every minute of every day by thousands and even millions of illegally entering people from other country’s over time who may provide cheap labor and also provide a drain on our strategically generous welfare state are a problem. DUH.

    And of course lets not forget the occasional casual murder of our law enforcement officers and our fellow citizens who’s families and they are destroyed by these illegals actions must be stopped out in a strong and rational manner. The illegals apparently have not gotten around to randomly dispatching a prominent Liberal Democrat or Liberal Democrats family member to date. At which point a wall may become a fairly reasonable option.

    MAGA

  • Edward

    From the article: “Park managers have barred Atkins from entering since 22 December 2018

    Are these the same park managers that have been on (paid) furlough since that date? Amazing that these managers are willing to go to work and do the rangers’ job, and are they closing parks that are supposed to be kept open? The article says that these guys are barred from doing work.

    Yet the scientist, Atkins (and how many others?), who is not on furlough is unwilling to do the jobs that he is being paid to do.

  • “They aren’t slaves.”

    In a real sense, they are. There are a lot of people so institutionalized and dependent on a large bureaucracy telling them what to do that they cannot function without it. Americans don’t think like that. Americans look at what needs to be done and think of ways *they* can do it, not what someone else tells them they can do, as demonstrated at the national parks. The more Americans step up and solve these and similar problems, the more foolish and helpless the opposition looks.

  • Cotour

    “the more foolish and helpless the opposition looks.”

    That will become very apparent this evening when Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer give their response to the presidents speech.

    The Democrat Leadership position is unsustainable and is just plain obstructionist by design, and all understand it whether they admit it or not.

  • Orion314

    I just sent a communique’ to our President @ https://www.whitehouse.gov/, the gist of which is there are plenty of old armed vets who still believe our oath to to the USC is true to our last breath. Now more than ever, he needs to know , he is not alone. i urge all you patriots reading this to send him a flair knowing he has support. Like it or not, we are in it, up to our ass.This site has evolved far past the solar system, or intergalaxative space, yea, it’s the twilight zone ,politics, the worst hell of all. God save the king.Contact the White House!

  • Cotour

    I am fully on board with you Orien314, I sent this letter of support and encouragement and some other items to the president just before Christmas. I await my invitation to meet with him in the Oval Office :)

    ————-

    Dear Mr. President,
    Ever since you rode down the escalator in Trump Tower with your charming wife to announce your candidacy for the President Of The United States Of America, you had my attention. I knew you were different. And ever since the moment I was personally able to determine without question that you were serious in your pursuit of the office of the President Of The United States Of America and your plain spoken and rational American based agenda, you had my complete attention and loyalty.

    After coming to my conclusions about you I have spent the last two plus years writing about and explaining you and what your true goals are to the confused and disoriented, despite the controversy that swirls around you and how very different you are related to all other previously known empowered modern American politicians or presidents. You being able to put forth and clearly and fearlessly articulate a rational, benevolent but strong nationalist American agenda. An agenda that pushes against in a serious way the by design counter to rational thinking of the Democrat Party leadership and their globalist agenda that ultimately demands the surrendering of our very constitution, our borders, our sovereignty and way of life. Surrendered over to individuals and organizations that fully promote socialism and even leftist agendas. And their equally irrational media sycophant operatives. Everything that America is not, pure partisan political warfare, solely in the pursuit of political power and absolutely nothing else. Self interested, anti American and desperate to the core.

    This short note is to let you know that I stand strong with you as I know many, many others in the country do and I encourage you to continue on your path without fear even though the pressure builds to unimaginable levels. That pressure is how we all understand just what a threat you and we represent to the Democrat leadership and their irrational anti American agendas to retain power at any cost. You in my opinion are pivotal and are on track to in time to be considered as a second founder of sorts. You have uniquely trained for this roll for your entire life, this is your destiny.

    I also include with this note of encouragement and solidarity a gift, A Soldiers Family Prayer. Which is a simple reminder to all Americans about what and who ensures all our freedoms. As long as you stay focused, unrelenting and determined I remain your loyal supporter, advocate and defender and encourage you to never give up, for every Americans sake.

  • wayne

    Blair–
    Good stuff.

    So, this alleged ‘ecologist’ Jeff Atkins, wants me to believe he was going to “work” the week of Christmas? What a liar he is.

    And exactly which streams are they talking about? “the acid rain that poisoned them in past decades” again, more lies.

    Funny how they never mention the EPA caused mine disaster which actually poisoned an entire river.

  • commodude

    All these inconvenient facts floating around….

    At the end of all of this, those working “without pay” will be paid, as they always are, and those who lend to government workers usually extend waiting periods and extended loans for those impacted.

    Far from the panic, it’s more “here we go again.”

    The media is making this out to be far worse than it is, before the government was even “shut down” there were businesses advertising assistance for USCG.

  • Orion314

    I did get a response back from the White House tonight. Granted, it was a canned e-mail response, Still. it’s more than I ever got from obama, bush ,clinton, bush, reagan , or carter., Sorry, I was too scared and young to deal with nixon or lbj. The blood/brains of jfk had not yet hardened…

  • Bill

    The parts of the Shenandoah that I frequent don’t have gates. Normal county roads criss-cross much of the land, there is not way to bar access.

    There are a couple of paragliding locations that are a one minute walk from the road, completely free access.

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