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Shutdown Shenanigans - 10/08/13

    There might be a hint of rant here.  My apologies in advance.

   Last week I called on an FBI agent for a news story I'm working on.  My call was returned today, Tuesday.  I'm not complaining.  The civil servant didn't have to call back at all.  Afterall, he's not getting paid.  I was told when I left the message last week that it could be a few days since this was considered  "non essential" business during the government shutdown.  Yes, I realize my place.  Chasing down hardened criminals comes first, of course.

    Once on the phone today, the FBI agent & I exchanged pleasantries at which time he volunteers, "I'm doing as good as can be workin' FREE."   Who wants to work for free?  Really... anybody?   Not me!  And I certainly don't expect our FBI to either.   Yet, that's what these men and women have been doing for more than a week now.

    FBI agents got the letter last week that said, "Unfortunately, whether you are in an 'excepted' or 'non excepted' status, there may be a financial impact to your paycheck."  Plus, the agent I was talking to doesn't even know if he'll get back pay.  That letter goes on to say, "Only if Congressional action is taken to pass legislation which allows for the retroactive payment of compensation for the time period encompassing the government shutdown, then all employees will be compensated for that time period."  That's a big if!

    If Congress and the President couldn't first agree on a full year's worth of appropriations, much less a continuing resolution.... why would this agent have any expectation they'd work it out for his retro pay's sake?  Regardless of how you feel about Obamacare, the bargaining chip in all of this--- this is wrong.  Wrong for our economy, wrong for small businesses that can't get loans to stay afloat, wrong for tourists traveling on fall break who are shut out of parks and landmarks, wrong, wrong, wrong.  

    I did some checking and as of this writing, Congress has been paid $1.9 million during the shutdown. $1.9 MILLION   Their salaries are constitutionally protected during a shut down.  

   Yes, congress gets paid... along with active military. In terms of accomplishment, these two aren't even on the same planet.  While one will spend tomorrow trying to figure out how to stay alive, the other will spend tomorrow trying to figure out where to order sushi.  And yes, we'll probably get the bill for that too.

    I'll let you know how the story with the FBI agent comes along.  It could be a while.  The government---  shutdown my deadline.    

 

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Last Update on September 02, 2014 09:07 GMT

BIRTHDAY MONKEY

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (AP) -- At 31, Nikko is the old man -- of North American monkeys. The Minnesota Zoo will be celebrating the snow monkey's birthday today. Zoo officials say Nikko will be getting birthday presents, which they call "enrichment items." Zoo spokesman Tom Ness says Nikko has always been "laid back." Ness speculates Nikko's mellow personality has helped him to live almost twice as long as a typical male.

STATE FAIR-FOOD

DALLAS (AP) -- If it can be fried -- it's been tried at the State Fair of Texas. Fair officials in Dallas have announced the winners for the Best Tasting and Most Creative new foods at the expo. The Best Tasting Award goes to a fried Gulf shrimp boil. That's baby Gulf shrimp, diced red potatoes, onion, lemon, and seasoning formed around a cocktail shrimp, dusted, fried and served with a remoulade sauce. The award for Most Creative goes to Funnel Cake Ale. It's a beer with hints of the midway treat, funnel cake. This year's fair runs from September 26 to October 19.

FIRE TRUCK REFRIGERATORS

BENTON, Ky. (AP) -- A western Kentucky fire department has a cool idea -- an onboard fridge. One of the trucks at the Palma-Briensburg Fire Department has a refrigerator. It used to chill water to keep the firefighters hydrated. Assistant Chief Todd Devine tells WPSD-TV summer heat combined with 35 to 40 pounds of gear takes a toll. He says access to the cold water could help save a life. He adds coolers will be added to more fire trucks.

GINSENG SEASON

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- There's gold in the forests of West Virginia -- in the form of ginseng. West Virginia's ginseng season began yesterday and runs through November. Ginseng dealer Dave Cook tells The Charleston Gazette he expects a good harvest this year. Officials also expect good prices. Robin Black of the West Virginia Division of Forestry says last year ginseng was selling for a near record of $780 a pound.

 
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