Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"National Zoo Panda Cam Will Be Turned Off, Along With Our Happiness, In Federal Government Shutdown"

I am not kidding, those are the headlines this Monday morning at the HuffPost page for pandababy news - and I do mean the new baby panda.

In light of 800,000 workers furloughed and families suffering unfairly, this may seem like a silly thing to receive my concern. It is not. Pandas are so rare, so threatened in their natural habitat, that maintaining the species in zoos and in the special panda centers such as those in China, is vital to a viable population of pandas. The zoos stock frozen sperm and eggs from their pandas and trade off to keep as genetically broad and diverse DNA pool as possible.

Just to watch a baby panda explore the world is to observe a miracle in action.  While the survivability of the pandas at the National Zoo is not in question currently from this government shutdown, the loss of opportunity is not limited to pandas.

The National Archives will be closed for the duration of the shutdown. Here is the quote from their website:
"If the Federal Government is shut down, all National Archives facilities will be closed and all activities will be canceled, with the following exceptions: Federal Records Centers and the Federal Register."  The day I spent doing research at the National Archives on my ancestors who fought in the Civil War was awesome - to see in person the records of our country's history in their vaults! All closed today.

I have been to the National Air and Space Museum several times with family and friends - most recently visiting the enormous facility in Reston, VA where I was able to walk around the space shuttle, and see the history of flight, up close and personal.  Here is the note on their web page:
"Due to the federal government shutdown, our museums and facilities are closed. All daytime and evening events are also canceled."

For more details about what will be closed or not, from the Grand Canyon to Ellis Island, from meat inspections to flu tracking - here is a link to an Associated Press article.

Ironically, while all the Federal workers who are off work without pay due to the actions of the House of Representatives, those same Representatives are getting paid - for NOT governing. They are also, due to their tax- payer funded jobs, enrolled in excellent health care programs that cover themselves and their families.  Yes, the same people who are shutting down the government in an effort to deny the average worker a chance at health care, will not only get paid for not working, they will be fully covered for doctor and hospital visits at the same time.

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