Tuesday, October 15, 2013

~Wailing & Choking Sobs~

Oh nooooooo!

How did I forget the most innocent victim of this whole government shutdown debacle?!


(Warning:  That blog post is not for the weak-of-heart... or stomach!)

In the eleven days since the shutdown began on Oct. 1, the pounds and pounds of ripe organic bounty have gone to waste.  The vegetables filling the 1,500 square-foot plot are now rotting away on the vines and in the boxed beds, thanks to the mandate for "minimal maintenance" placed on the skeletal crew of National Park Service gardeners who remain on duty at 1600 Penn.  

The gardeners are not allowed to harvest the crops, a White House source told Obama Foodorama.  Weeds are springing up everywhere, and the vegetables that have already fallen off the vines are now mouldering on the ground.

There are also mushrooms popping up inside and outside the garden beds, and leaf litter raining from the trees like confetti.  The wildlife that lives on the historic 18-acre campus--including a newly arrived fox now making a home at the White House--are having a field day. 

 Oh, my heart!  The pounds and pounds of ripe organic bounty!  GONE TO WASTE!!!

Until the Congressional showdown ends, there will be no happy little helpers joining Mrs. Obama to pluck the artichoke, okra, sweet potatoes, lettuces, squash, tomatoes, peppers, kale, carrots, rhutabaga, garlic, cabbage, exotic herbs, Swiss chard, collard and mustard greens, spinach, garlic, turnips, jalapeno and chili peppers that are now growing amok.   
 No no no no no...  No happy little helpers to pluck the artichoke... ~sniffle~ ...the kale... ~whimper~ ...the exotic herbs!  ~racking sobs of the wretched~

I-- I don't think I can go on reading.  It's too much for my poor nerves.  -- But I must.  For the Kitchen Garden's sake!

The sweet potatoes--a favorite of President Barack Obama's [emphasis entirely theirs], according to the First Lady--are especially abundant this autumn, said garden mastermind Kass before he was furloughed.   Mrs. Obama has proudly displayed four-pounders at past harvests, but this year's orange behemoths remain in the ground as worm food.

It can't be true.  His Majesty's own favorite-- left in the ground as worm food?!  I can't believe it!  I won't believe it!  I refuse to believe it!  (Well, I guess they'll just buy them from the Super-Exclusive Way-Overpriced All-Organic-All-the-Time Farmer's Market, instead.  No biggie.)

 There's a heart-rending photo of "lemongrass with white basil"... And then one of "a happy squirrel" shamelessly devouring his ill-gotten gains that nearly turned my stomach...  

Why couldn't someone have done something about this?  Prevented this horror?  Like... spend half an hour picking the vegetables every day or two?  ...Maybe even Michelle Obama, since it's "her" garden?  Or the first kids?  I know that We and They are not quite the same-- but lots of commoners set chores for their children-- light housecleaning or yard work.  Asking them to pick a few vegetables doesn't seem beyond the pale.  

...No.  What am I saying?  Ridiculous idea!

So, so true.

“The older I get, and the more I see of human beings, the more I understand why some people love their dogs so much.”    
--Thomas Sowell

Monday, October 14, 2013

Human Reaction

Charming story:

EBT benefit card glitch sparks Walmart shopping sprees in Louisiana.

KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather

The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system allows recipients of government food stamps to purchase goods using a digital card with a set spending limit, but for a few hours over the weekend, that limit disappeared for many users visiting Walmart stores in Louisiana.
[Then word got out, apparently, and the "shopping spree" began.]

. . .

Walmart workers phoned their corporate headquarters to ask how they should handle all the shoppers with unlimited, government-funded spending limits, and were told to keep the registers ringing.

. . .

Amateur video taken on shoppers' cell phones shows dozens of shopping carts, piled high with merchandise, abandoned in the aisles of one Walmart after the announcement was made that EBT cards were once again showing accurate spending limits.

Police spokesmen in both locations told KSLA that no arrests were made during the spending sprees.
Shoppers gave mixed reactions to the incident, with one man in the Springhill store told KSLA it was simply "human reaction" to stock-up when given the opportunity. Shopper Stan Garcia was more critical of the unscrupulous shoppers, however, saying that taking advantage of the brief glitch in the benefits system amounted to "plain theft. That's stealing, that's all I got to say about it."

"Simply 'human reaction' to stock-up when given the opportunity."  By this logic, I guess it's also simply "human reaction" to thieve, rape, and murder if opportunity and desire coincide?

The people who went on the "shopping sprees" are disgustingly poor examples of human beings-- but I have only marginally less scorn for those who would go out of their way to excuse such behavior.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Here's another story too "good" (awful) to keep to myself:
'Gestapo' tactics meet senior citizens at Yellowstone.

It's an interesting look into what happened to a group of senior tourists who had the bad luck to be on a 9-day bus-tour of Western parks when the government shutdown went into effect.

Some of the highlights:

For many hours [Pat Vaillancourt's] tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

 . . .
Rangers systematically sent visitors out of the park [Yellowstone], though some groups that had hotel reservations — such as Vaillancourt’s — were allowed to stay for two days. Those two days started out on a sour note, she said.

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back on board and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

. . .

As the bus made its 2.5-hour journey out of Yellowstone, the tour guide made arrangements to stop at a full-service bathroom at an in-park dude ranch he had done business with in the past. Though the bus had its own small bathroom, Vaillancourt said seniors were looking for a more comfortable place to stop. But no stop was made — Vaillancourt said the dude ranch had been warned that its license to operate would be revoked if it allowed the bus to stop. So the bus continued on to Livingston, Mont., a gateway city to the park.

The bus trip made headlines in Livingston, where the local newspaper Livingston Enterprise interviewed the tour guide, Gordon Hodgson, who accused the park service of “Gestapo tactics.”

“The national parks belong to the people,” he told the Enterprise. “This isn’t right.”

They weren't allowed to "recreate"-- i.e. take photos of something that was happening right outside the bus?  Good grief!  Makes about as much sense as blocking off the roadside viewing areas for Mt. Rushmore and "closing the ocean".  If these *@&$!^#  could figure out a way to do it, they'd block out the sun over all national parks and monuments for the duration of the shutdown.  Maybe remove all oxygen, too, for good measure.  "I'm sorry, ma'am, but that's park air you're breathing.  You're not allowed to breathe National Park air until the park is reopened.  I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to hold your breath as long as you're on federal land.  Better get a move on; it's quite a walk.  Oh, and have a nice day!  Oh, sir!  I'll have to ask you to close your eyes as you make your way to the nearest park exit.  You're enjoying the natural beauty, and all enjoyment is strictly prohibited until such time as the All-Powerful Government reopens the park.  In the meantime, pleasure of any kind is not allowed on federal land."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

If Only They Could See Us Now!

Our founding fathers, if they were able to peep into the future and see where we are today, would be so proud!  You just know they'd be glowing, if they saw how things stand.

Open-air memorials shut down and guarded against frail former soldiers and their families?

Military cemeteries closed to the public?

Privately-owned and -run facilities (such as the Claude Moore Farm and the Pisgah Inn) told they have to close-- against their will?
*wild applause*

And then, when the owner of the Pisgah Inn decided to "defy their authority" by staying open (because people were still booking rooms and could get to the inn with no trouble-- and because the inn doesn't receive federal funding/support)?  They posted armed, uniformed officials on the road, to direct traffic away from the inn.  The message is clear: You will do as you're told-- or else.

Now they want to close parts of the ocean.  Yeah, good luck with that. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

More of the Same

The National Park Service has ordered the closure of a park (the Claude Moore Colonial Farm) that receives no federal funding.  It sits on federal land, but "the government provides no resources for its maintenance or operation".

This is the first time the historical reenactment site has been shut down in 40 years, apparently, as previous government shutdowns didn't affect it-- which makes perfect sense, seeing as it doesn't receive a dime from the federal government.

The managing director of the farm says that the NPS "sent law enforcement agents to the park on Tuesday evening to remove staff and volunteers from the property".

She went on to add, "In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service ... I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS."

The farm staff made repeated requests to be allowed to keep the farm open-- but each appeal was denied.

- - - - - - -

...Well, it certainly captures the spirit of the thing, in my humble opinion.

- - - - - - -

And finally, at least some good may come of this whole mess:
"Is Obama's Golf Cancelled?"

President Obama has been playing golf at a furious pace this year – already heading out more times than during any year of his presidency – but the government shutdown raises the prospect that his favorite leisure activity is about to be suspended.

It’s unclear how a presidential golf outing could be justified as “essential,” which is the general standard for government activities that continue during the shutdown.

When Obama is in Washington, he plays at one of two publicly funded courses – either the links at Andrews Air Force Base or at Fort Belvoir. His rounds are paid for out of the public kitty.

What’s more, the public must pay for the nearly half hour trip by the large motorcade that shuttles the president to his golf destination, costs that involve the logistics of the movement as well as staff and Secret Service who must accompany Obama.

But beyond the actual costs, a golf excursion by Obama when the government is supposedly trimming costs and while furloughed federal workers are going without pay would be extremely bad public relations for a president waging a shutdown public opinion war against Republicans.

Obama generally plays every Saturday, most recently this past Saturday when he went out even as the government headed toward a shutdown. It was the 35th time he has played this year, eclipsing his 2011 record of 34 outings.

Always look for the silver lining! 

Our Glorious Government at Work

(Only... Maybe that should be "Our Glorious Government at Work on Furlough"?  Or "in Shutdown Mode"?)

In need of a little righteous indignation?  Try the story of the closing of the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C.  (I imagine most have heard all about it already, but there it is, to remind myself at a later date...)

This entire thing is absolutely shameful.   I mean, really!  Wouldn't you be blushingly ashamed of yourself, if you were charged with putting up these extra barricades and "CLOSED" signs?  I know I would...

While the higher-profile WWII memorial is carefully blocked, the barricade at the WWI memorial looks like this.  (It's a single unit of fencing-- about six feet long, standing all by its lonesome in a wide-open area, decorated with an "official" sign indicating-- I assume-- that all national parks are closed, and looking-- well, completely stupid.)

So... We couldn't afford to pay someone to staff the WWII memorial.  (For what purpose?  To collect garbage every couple of days?  To make sure there hasn't been an act of vandalism?)  Yet we had the money to pay them to put up the barricades-- then to come back the next day and put up more barriers, since the first ones apparently weren't enough.  What a wise use of federal dollars! I hope the brains behind this brilliant decision are proud of themselves. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse:
"National Zoo panda cam goes dark in government shutdown."


Why?!   WHYYYYYYYY?!?!?!