Flack, can you give us the gist on the gov. shutdown?

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RetroRomper
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Flack, can you give us the gist on the gov. shutdown?

Post by RetroRomper » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:00 am

Hey Flack,

As one working within the governmental sector, can you give us a more comprehensive run down of how employees feel, are reacting and generally taking the shut down?

Genuinely curious.

Retro

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Flack
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Post by Flack » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:48 am

Here are some random, off-the-cuff thoughts of mine this morning. Keep in mind that these opinions are mine and do not represent those of my employer.

The location I work at currently employs 7,500 people. As far as I can tell, all of us have been deemed "non-essential" and are sitting at home this morning without pay. That includes essentially the entire IT staff -- something the news has not reported. It would be like if policemen where declared essential, but they sent home the dispatcher and all the guys that do squad car maintenance. I'm sure it would make the general public feel safe to see police cars still driving around, but the maintenance crew knows how many times those guys lock their keys in their cars. So yes, the news keeps reporting that the air traffic controllers are still at work, but I can tell you they have sent home all the people who reset those people's passwords when they lock out their accounts.

I do not think the media has accurately portrayed who is being affected by the shutdown. They keep saying "the government" and then they either talk about forest rangers or people in Washington DC. There are people such as myself all over the country who do IT work (among other things) for the government. I'm just a guy who works on computers not unlike some of you. When I hear someone say "the government" on television my head doesn't crane around and I say, "hey that's me!"

I don't follow politics that closely and I don't understand the ins and outs of Obamacare. I do understand that both sides are using it as a leveraging tool, refusing to sign the budget until they get their way. I and apparently according to my Facebook page a lot of employees don't think it's fair that congress continues to get paid during a furlough while everybody I work with is sitting at home this morning not getting paid. The whole thing is a cliuster fuck. No one has officially contacted me today saying don't come to work (they e-mailed us) and our e-mail server is now offline. A sign of things to come? Great...

The biggest problem with the shutdown is that it's not a shutdown. Yes, they sent home the park rangers, whoopdie-doo. And all the IT people are sitting at home this morning. WOW. Unfortunately the TSA is still working and airports are still open. There's too many things that are still open for people to really feel the crunch. Close the airports for a week and quit paying congress and this bullshit would be settled in about 10 minutes, I promise you.

Anyhoo, I"m off to breakfast and then the casino. I suppose I should cut back on spending but, not today.
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Post by lethargic » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:44 pm

This government shut down business is almost as dumb as the last hockey lock out.

Almost.

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Post by Flack » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:42 pm

My favorite thing at the moment is people on Facebook who post and share things about the government shutdown that are either completely wrong or completely made up.

Here's one I liked. This is a post copied directly from my Facebook wall:

"I seen enough posts I have to say something. People are saying stop paying Congress and that will work to end the shutdown. Now that to me does not make sense. If you are not paying Congress, why would they come in and vote, they need to be working to vote. So if they are not working, how can they vote? Would you go to work if you were not paid? Think people, Think before you post."

I actually had to message this person to see if they were being sarcastic. They weren't.

The second one I'm tired of seeing is the one about the 28th amendment to the Constitution, which states that Congress will pass no law that applies to the public that does not also apply to them. The thing is, it's bogus. There are only 27 amendments. The people that are posting this won't take the five seconds it would take to Google it, and surely have not read the constitution.

My latest favorite is people sharing this article: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/2 ... etter-off/

Essentially it says that since things are going fine right now with 90% of the government furloughed, why not just fire them and move forward? This is so idiotic that I'm not even sure I need to address it. We didn't have any fires this weekend in my town so hey, let's let all the firefighters go! The first time a plane crashes and people wonder why an inspector didn't check it out, I suspect people will think differently.
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Post by lethargic » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:09 pm

We just had a major accident in TN. I didn't care enough about it to know exactly what happened. But I did hear them talk about how normally the NSTB would've investigated it but they can't because of the shutdown.

This shutdown would be fantastic if the right people were sent home. You know, the people who CAUSED it. Instead you send all the people who actually do things home. Could you imagine if 9/11 or Katrina happened right now? Well, I guess Katrina wouldn't be any different.

What really kills me is that Obama is going around talking about how the NFL should change the name of the Redskins. Really? REALLY? Nothing better to do? REALLY?

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Post by Jizaboz » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:03 am

lethargic wrote: What really kills me is that Obama is going around talking about how the NFL should change the name of the Redskins. Really? REALLY? Nothing better to do? REALLY?
I had to verify this because it just seemed too stupid to be true. I should have known better.

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Post by RetroRomper » Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:34 am

A co-worker and I were discussing the partial shutdown and she noted that "well, they should be able to find other jobs." I blinked twice and asked her to elaborate on the statement: "if they are capable in their field, moving to private should be easy."

Okay... This is ignoring the fact that 350,000 in a narrow field of industries applying for more or less the same positions in an already tight job market goes against common sense in finding a ready position, plus the fact we technically work for a public institution. Right.

Face to face interactions will always trump moronic facebook posts any day of the week.

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Post by Flack » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:04 pm

Yeah, there's a hole or two in her logic, the biggest of which is that the five largest employers for IT people around here are Tinker Air Force Base, the FAA, Devon, Chesapeake, and Hertz. Tinker and the FAA have furloughed over 10,000 people here locally. Devon and Chesapeake are both oil companies. Last week, Chesapeake laid off 800 people. That leaves Devon and Hertz. Devon isn't hiring right now and everybody I know who has worked for Hertz has quit to work for one of those other four companies.

I am sure I could get a job next week making less money and with worse retirement than what I have now. Instead I think I will wait it out and see what happens.
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Post by Flack » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:06 pm

Speaking of waiting it out, the latest rumor I heard is that if we do not go back to work on Tuesday, then we can expect 4-6 weeks of furloughs. We just got our last "partial paycheck" so the next time I get paid will be two weeks after the furlough ends. Good times. The tightening of the belts has begun.

Anyone want to buy a motorcycle? Or a golf kart? Or a pickup truck? Or...
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Post by RetroRomper » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:44 pm

Where do these rumors originate?

I ask because the whole process seems entirely dependent on the House / Senate brokering a deal. Which is more or less transparent as it can be followed on CNN as opposed to around the water cooler.

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Post by lethargic » Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:55 pm

Lots of Star Wars toys coming soon to Craigslist.

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Post by lethargic » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:10 am

It kills me what kind of stuff is actually shutdown in this and what is still open.

The main thing is the parks. Parks are trees, grass and water. How do you shut that down? People go there and feed ducks. Are the ducks furloughed? How do you shut down a monument? It's just a thing sitting there.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is still open. Center for Disease Control...shut down. ???????

I hope those Preservation people know how to deal with zombies!

It seems like everything that people need or does good or makes money is shut down. Everything unnecessary or screwing the country or costs lots of money is open for business.

I know everybody jokes about stupid the government is. But this takes the cake. They don't even know how to shutdown right.

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Post by Flack » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:53 am

RetroRomper wrote:Where do these rumors originate?

I ask because the whole process seems entirely dependent on the House / Senate brokering a deal. Which is more or less transparent as it can be followed on CNN as opposed to around the water cooler.
My wife is a couple of management levels away from people we see on CNN from time to time. There are lots and lots of meetings, negotiations, and deals going on behind the scenes. That's not to say that I know 100% of what's going on (probably closer to 1%, hah) but it's definitely coming from people who would know. Like any company, the "good ol' boy" method of news getting around is alive and well.
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Post by Flack » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:04 am

lethargic wrote:Lots of Star Wars toys coming soon to Craigslist.
I've thought about it. Unfortunately I don't have any single item worth all that much money, and bundled collections don't seem to sell for shit.

I have five or six Power of the Force action figures still on the card signed by the actors who played them. They're all what I call "maskers" (people who wore masks in the movie). I don't have Han Solo or Luke Skywalker, but I have R2D2 and C3P0. I also have Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and Chewbacca. The other problem with these is that these people are all still alive. If Kenny Baker or Anthony Daniels has a heart attack in the next week or so, I could probably get $100 for a signed figure vs. the $40 or so I could get today.

I also have the complete original run of Star Wars comic books from '77. My dad bought them new, read them, threw them in a box, and gave them to me. Issue #1 is available right now BIN on eBay for $35. I assume later ones are worth less. I think I have 30 or so of them.

I have seen lots on Craigslist of people selling figures for chump change -- $2,000 collections for $400. If you love collecting and displaying them it's a great hobby; if you were doing it as an investment, it may have been a poor choice.

One of my problems is I have a hard time seeing the big picture. For example I have six guitars. A couple of them are worth $200-$300. A couple of them aren't worth $100. I guess I could put them all on Craigslist and see what happens but... and maybe that's a bad example. I have a couple hundred NES games that I could sell for $5 each, maybe. I don't know, it just seems like I couldn't sell enough to really make a difference and in the end I would just be getting rid of things I like. Shrug.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Post by Flack » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:22 am

lethargic wrote:It kills me what kind of stuff is actually shutdown in this and what is still open.

The main thing is the parks. Parks are trees, grass and water. How do you shut that down? People go there and feed ducks. Are the ducks furloughed? How do you shut down a monument? It's just a thing sitting there.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is still open. Center for Disease Control...shut down. ???????

I hope those Preservation people know how to deal with zombies!

It seems like everything that people need or does good or makes money is shut down. Everything unnecessary or screwing the country or costs lots of money is open for business.

I know everybody jokes about stupid the government is. But this takes the cake. They don't even know how to shutdown right.
I agree, and disagree.

Everybody knows that the government isn't *really* shut down. They can't *really* shut it down because the country would come to a screeching halt. So instead, they have done a sort of "public" shutdown, where they can shut down public-type things without really affecting the country. For example, the FAA has sent home IT employees. The air traffic controllers are still at work. Some safety inspectors are still at work. The TSA is still at work. Can you imagine what Monday morning would be like if the air traffic controllers, TSA, and all safety inspectors went home? Plane crashes are bad, m'kay? So instead of sending those people home, they are closing national parks. Why? Because that's how they can make their point and piss off the public without really affecting our country's infrastructure.

One of my friends works for the border patrol in Arizona. I can tell you, he is at work. He is not getting paid and he is still patrolling the border. They are not sending him home. Instead they are talking about suspending trash pickup in DC. Why? Because when garbage piles up it makes a big stinky mess and it pisses off people without putting anyone in danger. That is why they do things like mess with soldiers' funeral funds and yet the FDA is still making sure your meat is safe to eat.

Part of the furlough is designed to slow processes without stopping them. The FDA sent something like 60% of their food inspectors home. That means inspections are still taking place but they're taking longer than normal. It is frustrating and affecting businesses that matter. But it hasn't stopped. Inspections have not stopped. The government wants to make things painful without actually reintroducing the Bubonic plague.
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Post by lethargic » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

But that's the problem. It's wishy washy. Shut it down for real and they have incentive to fix things. A few planes collide mid-air and crash into some neighborhoods and all problems would get solved!

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Post by RetroRomper » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:56 pm

Technically the government is shut down: the poor saps who are still in the office are not actually being paid (but are in "critical professions" sooo they need to be front and center). Jesus christ though - being legally obligated to work without a paycheck in site or unable to actually use your benefits would be demoralizing to an extreme.

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Post by Flack » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:38 pm

I already told my boss if they call us back and we are not getting paid I am wearing shorts and t-shirts. I don't give a shit if it's freezing outside.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

ICJ

Post by ICJ » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:19 pm

The fact that the government might be asking people to come in and work without being paid (due to the House teabaggers) is the greatest piece to all of this that proves that the teabagger movement was the most childish, racist and insipid thing that's ever happened in American politics.

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Post by Flack » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:45 pm

It's demoralizing, but understandable.

Right now, I'm a guy who is not working and not getting paid. There's not a lot of public sympathy for that position, but that's where we're at.

IF the senate votes to approve back pay for all furloughed employees (the house has already approved this), then suddenly we are federal employees who are sitting around at home not working and getting paid for it. Completely different situation. As a tax payer, I don't like that scenario and if those people will be getting paid for it, I would like to see them back at work.

If you thought morale among government workers was low before, send them back to work without pay. I expect to hear "uh, I'm not getting PAID" 800x a day. And that's just out of my own mouth.
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