Hospitals

#Shutscience, dam on the data river and 3 more shutdown stories worth reading

Can't make this up. Poison Ivy eating goat laied off at Sandy Hook NJ National Rec area due to #shutdown USA Today — Doc Jerry K (@Doc_JJK) October 3, 2013 Moderate Republicans in the House may rise up and save the day, but for now the ultra-conservatives in the GOP are calling the shots. Here […]

Moderate Republicans in the House may rise up and save the day, but for now the ultra-conservatives in the GOP are calling the shots. Here are a few stories that show how the effects of the shutdown are growing and will only get worse as it drags on.

Shutdown map
The Washington Post has a map showing which cities are most affected by the federal furloughs. Here are the top 10 metro areas with a high share of federal employees:

1) Colorado Springs, 55,000 federal workers, or 18.8% of the workforce
2) Virginia Beach-N.C., 144,000 federal workers, 17.2%
3) Honolulu 86,000 workers, 17.2%
4) D.C. region, 446,000 workers, 14.3%
5) El Paso, 43,000 workers, 13.6%
6) Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, 24,000 workers, 11.5%
7) San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, 151,000 workers, 10.9%
8) Augusta, Ga.-S.C., 20,000 workers, 9.1%
9) San Antonio, 72,000 workers, 7.8%
10) Charleston S.C., 24,000 workers, 7.6%

Who is essential?
Apparently there three categories of government employees: essential (still on the job but without pay), funded (on the job until the project money is spent) and non-essential (currently on furlough). All of these designations are made by agency leaders. This means things look different at each federal agency, as Politico describes:

“There’s no single off-on switch for government,” said John Palguta, vice president for policy at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and a former executive branch human resources manager. “On an agency-by-agency basis, they’re making these decisions and you do get lots of gray areas because it’s a matter of human judgment … You’ve got to fly by the seat of your pants to some extent.”

No data for you
In addition to PubMed being offline, many other sources of health data are not being updated. USA Today explains how many industry sectors are affected:

The federal government shutdown is drying up a river of data that U.S. agencies put out daily on everything from job growth to divorce rates. The data vacuum may seem trivial compared with the closing of national parks and Head Start programs for kids. But it’s likely to affect stock markets and even business hiring and investment, especially if it drags on more than a week or two, economists and industry officials say.
Industries, from manufacturers to retailers, also rely on the government data to help make strategic decisions. “They’re not going to know — is the economy picking up? Can I bring on another worker and invest in plant and equipment?” says Chad Moutray, chief economist of the National Association of Manufacturers.

#Shutsci
The tweets tagged #shutscience are the polar opposite of #shutdownpickuplines. This post on Wired explains how much scientific work is stalled or stopped because of the shutdown. Also, the director of polymer research at the National Science Foundation had just joined the organization the last time the government shut down.
Here are a few tweets that illustrate the scope of the problem.

Tea Party calling the shots
And finally, two essential points from The Atlantic:

1. If the House of Representatives voted on a “clean” budget bill — one that opened up the closed federal offices but did not attempt to defund the Obama health care program — that bill would pass, and the shutdown would be over. Nearly all Democrats would vote for it, as would enough Republicans to end the shutdown and its related damage. (And of course it would pass has already passed the Senate, repeatedly, unless the minority dared filibuster it, and would be signed by the president.) For illustrations of the wanton damage, see here and here.

2. So far House Speaker John Boehner has refused to let this vote occur. His Tea Party contingent knows how the vote would go and therefore does not want it to happen; and such is Boehner’s fear of them, and fear for his job as Speaker, that he will not let it take place.