The Government Shutdown Explained (Like You're an Idiot)
by RUSSELL GOLDMAN
So, it's happened. Congress could not agree on a budget and the U.S. federal government has shut down all non-essential services. Hundreds of thousands of government workers have been furloughed without knowing when they will return to work.
Oh my God! Oh my God! I saw this on "Doomsday Preppers." Total collapse! I knew I should have built that bomb shelter and started hoarding lentils.
Cool your jets. This is far from the apocalypse. The government has not ground to a complete halt. Services deemed essential like Medicare, mail delivery, tax collection and the military will continue to operate. Non-essential departments and employees, like national park rangers and NASA staff (who aren't currently in orbit) will be furloughed. Also, the National Zoo will be closed.
Someone is going to get a very angry tweet about this! If only I knew who to blame
and also how this happened.
Every year Congress has to agree on a budget to fund the government. The fiscal year ended on Sept. 30, but Congress was unable come to a consensus about how best to use federal funds. Without a budget essentially a law passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate -- to pay employees and fund programs for the new fiscal year, the government effectively shut down at midnight on Oct. 1.
Despite several last minute attempts, lawmakers could not even agree to a stopgap measure that would fund the government temporarily.
Those guys can never agree on anything. And now they're going to let all the animals at the National Zoo starve to death. Those poor pandas! Why couldn't they just make a deal?
Firstly, all of the animals will be fed and taken care of. The pandacam, however, will be shut down.
The sticking point in the negotiations was funding the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the president's signature piece of legislation that would increase the number of Americans who receive health insurance by requiring them to buy it.
The House is controlled by Republicans, whose Tea Party faction is wholly opposed to Obamacare. They've tried to use the budget as leverage to defund or delay Obamacare.
Every budget they sent to the Senate for approval was bounced back, because the Senate is controlled by Democrats who want see Obamacare succeed.
So after all that Obamacare is going to be defunded anyway?
No. Obamacare will not be affected by the shutdown. In fact, the online marketplaces to buy insurance went live at midnight, just as the rest of the government shut down.
I'm sure this sort of thing has never happened before. I would have heard about the zombies.
There won't be any zombies. (Hopefully, anyway. The CDC is shutting down.) But, there have been shutdowns in the past, usually not lasting more than a few days at a time. The most recent shutdown was in 1996, when President Bill Clinton and House Republicans led by Speaker Newt Gingrich could not reach a deal. That shutdown lasted nearly a month.
So now what happens?
We have to wait for one side to blink and agree to cut a deal. Lawmakers are back at it today. On Monday night the House decided to form a "bipartisan committee" to come up with a proposal, but if any part of that deal includes defunding Obamacare, the Senate will reject it. Federal employees will continue to go unpaid until a budget is struck.
But in the meantime, all Americans can just break the law free of consequence and don't have to go work?
No. No. No! You're an idiot.
New police program reduces crime in community
Gwinnett County police say a reduction in crime and an increase in trust are a direct result of the community policing initiative implemented to fight crime at area apartment complexes.
The department rolled out the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program -- a type of community policing that involves property managers and residents -- in April 2012.
"The program focuses on trying to reduce gangs, drugs, prostitution -- typical problems that occur in rental or apartment communities, said officer Bert Garcia.
Police are working to improve two corridors that see more than their fair share of crime. Garcia said in early 2012, 98 percent of crime in central Gwinnett County was happening in and around apartment complexes along Satellite Boulevard and Sweetwater Road. Law enforcement needed to try something new.
Twenty-nine properties are now working with police on improved safety and security conditions. There is a full certification that comes after a three-phase program educating management and residents.
"They kind of start losing that misconception that they generally have about the police and learn about what we do. In turn, we get a lot of tips, Garcia said.
Police said they see the results in their stats, a 16 percent decrease in crime in the area in just one year.
To become fully certified, properties go through a three-phase program with police: First, management learns about security improvement. Then there is a property survey to improve safety conditions and finally, a meeting with residents is held.
Police hope to have three more properties fully certified by the end of the year.
Jacksonville Airport shut down after destructive device is found, suspect arrested
by Derek Kinner
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Authorities have a suspect in custody after finding two suspicious packages including one they described as destructive at the Jacksonville International Airport.
Zeljko Causevic was booked into the Jacksonville County Jail early Wednesday and is being held without bond on charges that include making a false report about planting a bomb or explosive.
Officials say 39-year-old Causevic will be in bond court at 1:30 p.m.
The airport was shut down for nearly five hours Tuesday evening after the packages were found.
Michael Stewart, who handles external affairs for the Jacksonville Airport Aviation Authority, says another suspect was arrested and questioned. He says that suspect is not connected to the incident at this time.
The airport was back to normal operation Wednesday morning.