#shutdown
One Snarled Thing: Traffic In DC and NYC

One Snarled Thing: Traffic In DC and NYC

                                  It seems that climate change snarled traffic in both cities yesterday morning.  The Extinction Rebellion, a global climate protest group that similarly shut down London last spring and they are planning to do the same again in October, […]

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Rubber chicken is not fake news!

Rubber chicken is not fake news!

If you thought those frozen chicken nuggets from Perdue and Tysons Foods tasted terrible, there could be a reason why — they had bits of rubber and wood and unlabelled other products like milk (an allergen) in them.   Consumers found pieces of “soft, blue rubber” inside the food and contacted Tysons; similarly, consumers found wood […]

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National Parks Picking Up

National Parks Picking Up

With the shutdown over, for employees of our country’s National Parks, the tough clean up job is just getting started.  Sadly the toll of the shutdown on our natural heritage may have been greater than feared in some locations.  For example, Joshua Tree National Park suffered damage from vandalism that will be irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years, according to former park superintendent Curt Sauer.  The Trump Administration kept many parks open for most or all of the shutdown, but volunteers who helped clean up trash and service bathrooms in popular parks like Joshua Tree could not keep up with routine maintenance, much less stop the vandals.  

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Welcome Back Federal Workers!

We are back up and running this morning! Thank you for your patience. Please visit us at https://t.co/KAZIStjKGt pic.twitter.com/qVVRxXGAeX — NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) January 28, 2019 Thanks to all the Federal Workers who endured the long shutdown!  This tweet was a beautiful reminder that “the sun will come up tomorrow!”   Watch it here.  

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The Essence of Our Essential Government

The Essence of Our Essential Government

The government shutdown has been an ordeal but also instructive. It was devastating to government workers, contractors and grantees, who were directly harmed by the failures of our leaders to reach a funding agreement and pay them. But taking a step back, and trying to find any silver lining in this 36-day nightmare, we can see three.

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Feds AND Their Pets Need Food During the Shutdown

Feds AND Their Pets Need Food During the Shutdown

The unending government shutdown is causing stress for federal workers and their families, including their pets.  Communities all over the country have been working to help fill this gap.  The #ChefsforFeds project of Chef Jose Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen is serving hot food to thousands of government workers daily at many locations in Washington, D.C. and around the country — already 40,000 in DC alone.  Here in D.C., WCK is partnering with the International Fund for Animal Welfare to provide pet food and necessary supplies for furloughed workers.

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Earth’s magnetic north pole shifting more quickly than before

Earth’s magnetic north pole shifting more quickly than before

You may think of the north pole as an affixed point the very “top” of the planet (which would be correct and that’s called the geographic north pole) but since the Earth is essentially a giant magnet the magnetic north pole is where the northern lines of attraction enter the Earth or where a compass needle […]

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Trump Quietly Orders More Logging On Federal Lands

Trump Quietly Orders More Logging On Federal Lands

President Trump issued an Executive Order late last year directing the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to increase logging on lands under their agencies’ control by 31% above levels of timber harvest in 2017.  The Washington Post reported that the President had been itching to sign this Order — he wanted to do it during his trip to California in mid-November, an inside source told The Post, but it wasn’t ready for his signature.  The order only became public earlier this week. 

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Shutdown Not Slowing Down Trump Administration Energy Priorities

Shutdown Not Slowing Down Trump Administration Energy Priorities

While most of the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are in a seemingly endless shutdown limbo, the priorities of the Trump Administration go on without a hitch.  Two high profile examples came to light over the weekend — the preparation for newly nominated Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing and the busiest […]

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Gov shutdown freezes vital research and training programs

Gov shutdown freezes vital research and training programs

As of the morning, the federal government shutdown has entered into its 24th day, making it the longest shutdown in US history. While 800,000 federal workers are caught in the crosshairs of the shutdown (and most of them missed a paycheck last Friday), countless amounts of scientists and other workers have had their research work frozen as well.

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Heroes of the Week: Coasties Risking Their Lives To Keep Us Safe — Even Without Pay

Heroes of the Week: Coasties Risking Their Lives To Keep Us Safe — Even Without Pay

Unlike the other branches, there is one military service whose members are about to miss a paycheck.  The U.S. Coast Guard is the only military service that is “deployed” all over the nation every day 24/7.  And the brave Coasties who are working without pay are risking their lives to protect us.  According to a Coast Guard spokeswoman, they are continuing to provide essential operations “for national security or that protect life and property during partial government shutdowns,” such as search-and-rescue, securing the nation’s ports and coastlines, other law enforcement duties and environmental response. And for that, you are our heroes — this week and every week.

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Already High Food Contamination Risk Is Increasing Due To Gov’t Shutdown

Already High Food Contamination Risk Is Increasing Due To Gov’t Shutdown

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has spent the better part of the last two days trying to reassure the public that food safety is not at risk during the shutdown.  Yesterday and into today, through a series of tweets, Dr. Gottlieb explained (1) that routine food safety inspections are not taking place now; (2) that he is trying to get them re-started by next week – though he is not sure how to do it because FDA guidance requires routine inspections to cease when there is no funding; and that (3) high-risk food safety inspections are continuing.  The key fact that most people don’t know is that there are very few food safety inspections in the U.S, which Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich pointed out in a story and in a devastating series of tweets.  

Why This Matters: The good news is that your food is almost as safe now as it ever was. The bad news is that our safety inspection system is woefully underfunded and inadequate.  But we should have already deduced that fact given the two deadly e-coli outbreaks in the last year.  The law on food inspections is relatively strong, but not being fully implemented.  And lax agricultural practices and health and safety regulations regarding pesticides and use of certain fertilizers create further loopholes that create more risk than most people realize.

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