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Are Shuttered Gov't Sites Actually Saving Money?

timothy posted 1 year,17 days | from the buy-this-magazine-or-we'll-shoot-this-dog dept.

The Almighty Buck 668

Lots of U.S. government agencies' websites are partly or fully shut down, many of them with messages like this one, from the front page of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory: "Effective 7 p.m. EDT, Friday, 4 October 2013, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) temporarily suspended all US operations because of the US Federal government shutdown. All NRAO facilities and buildings are closed; NRAO personnel, other than a skeleton crew, are on furlough and cannot respond to emails or phone calls." Brian Doherty argues at Reason that many of these shutterings don't actually seem to make any financial sense, and that the sites are down more as a public statement than out of fiscal prudence. If you're involved with running an organizational web site (government-funded or not), do you agree?

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"Financial Sense" (4, Insightful)

Silentknyght (1042778) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043581)

Since when does the majority of the actions of the US Government make "financial sense"? This is about what is required, not what is saving money. I've heard from various news sources that the shutdown, itself, *costs* millions per day. By that logic, "financial sense" would have been to not shutdown in the first place.

Re:"Financial Sense" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043629)

Many of these actions are clearly not "required". Park facilities that don't normally have round-the-clock security are now being patrolled and guarded by park rangers who have been told to keep everyone out. The logic doesn't make sense because these are facilities that don't have any services being discontinued that would necessitate a total closure of the lands and monuments during a government shutdown. It is purely punitive action designed to make regular people suffer in the hopes they whine to their congressman about the budget negotiations.

Re:"Financial Sense" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043747)

The issue is not what costs more or less money. The government has money. What the government doesn't have is the authorization from congress to spend it. It doesn't matter that the normal funds for running the park cost less than the park rangers. The rangers are authorized and running the park is not. The way our system works is that no money can be spent without a formal authorization from congress and right now we don't have that. They passed a law a while back to continue funding "essential" services during this time but we don't get to pick and choose based on what makes financial sense.

This is the downside of having a government of laws not men. Without the law we can't do anything even if common sense says it should be so. Want common sense, Congress needs to pass a law.

Re:"Financial Sense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043777)

Many of the shuttered parks *do not* even get federal funds, so you are wrong, and in the cases where they do, there is no cost to keep them open beyond the park rangers that they're *already spending money on*.

Re:"Financial Sense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043817)

Many of the shuttered parks *do not* even get federal funds, so you are wrong, and in the cases where they do, there is no cost to keep them open beyond the park rangers that they're *already spending money on*.

if there are many of them, then you should be able to give a few examples.

Re:"Financial Sense" (4, Insightful)

Entrope (68843) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043789)

If the executive isn't authorized to spend money, which is better: To post signs saying "This facility is closed and unstaffed", or to deploy armed guards in order to keep people away from open-air facilities that are usually unstaffed and unsupervised?

Re:"Financial Sense" (5, Insightful)

wstrucke (876891) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043897)

That, and the fact that it is *public land*. The people do not report to the government, the government reports to the people. If it's not being funded there should be no authority to "close" publicly owned resources.

Re:"Financial Sense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043871)

When has a government strike or budget cut not done this?

Typically when forced to cut budgets they go after what would be the most painful to the public.

This way they are more likely to get the public upset and complain. They probably have a ton of things they could have cut instead but it wouldnt have had the "positive impact" they wanted.

Re:"Financial Sense" (1, Informative)

craigminah (1885846) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043679)

The shutdown makes little fiscal sense, especially when you consider that those employees furloughed will most likely receive back pay.

Re:"Financial Sense" (1, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043883)

Furloughed employees will not receive back pay. They are ordered not to work and can't legally do so. Employees deemed essential must work, but they won't be paid until Congress authorizes the funds.

Re:"Financial Sense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043947)

They received back-pay in the last shutdown and most likely will in this one as well, when the government is running again.

Re:"Financial Sense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043931)

This is true, even ignoring the benefits to the economy of an open government that so many libertarians refuse to acknowledge. It's also wasteful to live by continuing resolutions -- lots of funds are spent renegotiating contracts, budget planning, etc. Overall, the way we're doing things at this point does not maximize government financial efficiency.

Re:"Financial Sense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043693)

Elephant-in-the-room Donkey croko-kosha-dill tears, financial-sense, and shekels-and-cents...

to be both fiscally and intellectually honest,

re-catagorize AIPAC as a foreign-intel-organisation, fine the pants off them, then deport the legions of their dual-nationality bureaucrats, policy-makers, media-types, etcetera, which are currently bogging down the system.
It`s a allround winning strategy, for dems and repubs alike.
only possible AMERIGAN losers would be the kosher deli down the road, but hey, Chinese and Spanish-speakers do not eat kosher, so that`s great!

p.s. oopsie-daisy, forgot to rid the foreign-service and most of the main newswires foreign-desk chiefs and chief editors.... the pounds juST KEEP DROPPING OFF!!!!!

No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043611)

It does hardly save any money, but it reminds the public how fucking stupid Republicans are.
And that's worth it.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043621)

Please kill yourself.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043687)


Re:No (1)

Kythe (4779) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043941)

Whether he lives or dies, he's right.

Re:No (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043659)

You misspelled Democrats. You know, the racists who championed slavery, segregation, and current policies that weaken black families.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043901)

Boehner is a Democrat?


Re:No (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043911)

Both parties are equally stupid and responsible - or rather irresponsible when it comes to this.

This is a result of the election system that the US has that is far from proportional - it is a "winner takes it all" system which works for the president, but not when you are going to get people representing the people. There is also another failure in the constitution - there's no obvious clause that takes care of things like the current situation.

Of course - the constitution was written in a different time, and they could probably never conceive the idea that the congress was working against the best of the country and instead resort to blackmail. Notice that the best of the country isn't necessarily the best of the people. Taxes come and go and if a decree doesn't work out - like Romney Obamacare it can be changed later.

Re:No (-1)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043917)

148 years ago. Try to keep up. In modern times, the GOP is the major US party attacking the civil rights of everybody who's not white, male and Christian.

Re:No (0)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043691)

They're all stupid, and so are the hardcore "rah rah" team party supporters now donating money. Just about the only winner right now is the Tea Party, who wants a government a lot more like the one we have during the shutdown. So good job Senators, good job moderate Republicans, good job Obama, good job House Dems - way to let the hard-liners win the day. Honestly, how hard would it be for the Dems to recruit a handful of Republicans over to their side for a funding bill? I suspect they would give away very little - maybe even get a tax increase out of it like last year. But then they would be "negotiating with terrorists". What a bunch of hooey. They aren't even being entertaining this time, like when the shutdown happened in the 90s - or maybe this isn't as much fun with "new media".

Re: No (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043743)

That's not how it works in the house. The speaker has made it clear that he won't pass anything without a majority of republicans supporting it.

Re: No (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043785)

And we have a sufficient number of republicans publically stating that they will vote in favor of a clean resolution to pass it were it to put to the vote.

Re: No (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043833)

There is an informal majority of the majority rule for the house called the Haster Rule.

Re: No (1)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043885)

Which has been subverted several times just this year.

Re: No (0)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043923)

They did pass a clean resolution. It just didn't fund Obamacare.

What definition of "clean" are your masters telling you to use?

Re:No (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043797)

There already are enough Republicans that would vote with the Dems on a clean CR to pass it. The problem in the Boehner won't let it come up for a vote because he's under pressure from the Tea Party not to.

Re:No (0)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043921)

They already passed a clean CR. It just didn't fund Obamacare.

What definition of "clean" are your masters telling you to use?

Re:No (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043801)

Honestly, how hard would it be for the Dems to recruit a handful of Republicans over to their side for a funding bill?

They already tried.

The 22 or so Republicans that said they'd vote for a "clean CR" to their constituents and the press in their home states .... didn't. They wouldn't sign the Discharge Petition, which would bypass the Speaker, to bring it to the floor.

So there you go.


Re:No (1)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043869)

So they just... give up? Try harder. If there is a car in your lane coming straight at you, you don't say, "Well, he's in the wrong lane, so I'm not moving!"

And this is without even considering why we are talking about failure to pass a last-second CR, when their job is to budget for the entire year and they have the whole freaking year to do it. No, this is a complete failure of Washington culture. I can't believe they got outsmarted by such a small minority.

Re:No (1)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043915)

So they just... give up?

It was fucking yesterday. It's 10:am on Saturday.

Give it your outrage a fucking rest already.


democrites vs repugnicants (2)

KiloByte (825081) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043619)

that the sites are down more as a public statement than out of fiscal prudence

You mean, the populist faction of the Neocon Corporate Party could possibly do something just to put the public blame on the authoritarian faction? That cannot be!

I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043631)

but either way shutting the gov't sites is a great way to remind people that gov't does things they want done. For the last 20 or 30 years we've been hammered with a 'Gov't is Evil' message. Never mind that it was the Federal Gov't that did away with Child Labor, Slavery and Segregation, created Superfund sites for cleanup of the messes made by private business and made them stop poisoning ground water.

With all the small gov't Tea Party blather out there it's nice for Americans to be reminded that gov't is a tool, and one they depend on. I for one don't want to see EPA regulation, anti-slavery and usury laws, OSHA Safety and FDA regulations go away.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (2)

oag2 (2854559) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043705)

I think at this short time-scale it will remind those who use government services (e.g., WIP) a lot that government matters (which we can assume they knew already), but others who benefit less directly will probably feel little to no change, at least in the short term. I can't say the shutdown has any noticeable impact on my day-to-day existence, except that I feel angry thinking about it. While I'm with you that government is important, I frankly don't want to wait until we start noticing the effects of, say, EPA/FDA regulations not being enforced...

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (2)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043937)

I heard the FDA had already stopped food safety inspections on imported food. But I think there is no way to verify that because the people you'd have to contact to tell you about it are furloughed :(

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

cb88 (1410145) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043709)

You have a point. However all those things have been abused as well... And they don't exist because of the federal government they exist because good people in the government acutally cared about other people. Do you really thing anyone in the current crop cares one bit about anyone but themselves?

There are a few I personally think might... but in all reality its probable they don't care either. They're just riding on the other side of arguments because it is a comfortable niche for them.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043875)

They're just riding on the other side of arguments because it is a comfortable niche for them.

Very true. This is one method of providing an illusion of opposition [] . It is important to keep the electorate as evenly divided as possible. It makes the target much harder to see and hit.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043719)

False choice.

One can have a smaller, more effective federal government, as opposed to a large, bloated, wasteful, ineffective, and repressive federal government.

And a great starting point is the defunding of the ACA.

As for you calling the opinions of the Tea Party 'blather' ... well, exactly how is the federal government doing the taxpayers whom they claim to serve a service, by sending all the employees home, barricading open air public parks that could easily remain open, and then PAYING FEDERAL WORKERS TO STAY AT HOME AND DO NOTHING USING TAX MONEY COLLECTED VIA THREAT OF FORCE from the public ?

Get a clue.

Re: I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043759)

Move to Somalia and live the dream.

Re: I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043805)

Somalia ?

"Until the collapse of the federal government in 1991, the organizational and administrative structure of Somalia's healthcare sector was overseen by the Ministry of Health. Regional medical officials enjoyed some authority, but healthcare was largely centralized. The socialist government of former President of Somalia Siad Barre had put an end to private medical practice in 1972.[158] Much of the national budget was devoted to military expenditure, leaving few resources for healthcare, among other services.[159]"

I don't have to move. Somalia has found me.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1, Insightful)

atgaaa (1869296) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043779)

I would add that many of the closures seem vindictive and petty. If the govenment served the citizens. they would work to make this "shutdown" as painless as possible on the citizens. Instead, many politicians seem to be trying to make it as painful as possible.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (-1, Troll)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043963)

Instead, many politicians seem to be trying to make it as painful as possible.

You misspelled President Obama's adminstration

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043809)

Because smaller governments are magically more effective?

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043909)

As it relates to the federal government of the US, yes.

States are free to carry out any functions not provided ( and who are we kidding, dictated and mandated ) by the federal government. What you do not get with a single, large federal government, are degrees of freedom which allow for evolutionary advancements.

Central dictates from the federal government destroy the laboratory of innovation that are the individual states.

If the educational system weren't failing so badly, you would understand this.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043961)

Strong words from an AC!

(And, in fact, I did much of my undergraduate work in political economics - albeit with an international emphasis - before going into a career in software engineering. Then computational biochemistry research, and now neurobiology. I am fairly certain I'm not a poster child for a failing educational system...)

What you are stating isn't established fact, but a partisan assertion.

Not really. (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043825)

Human beings aren't really that efficient. You're drive for gov't efficiency gets used to excuse cutting services for the lower classes while the rich continue to use gov't to their benefit. You're not going to win that battle. The rich will make use of gov't, so I say why don't we? But nice troll anyway...

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043965)

You're misinformed. Workers are not being paid to say at home. Those who have been told not to work will not be paid for their time.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043723)

Yea, we need to keep growing the NSA and the DEA. I think some Americans are still doing things I don't agree with.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043751)

but either way shutting the gov't sites is a great way to remind people that gov't does things they want done.

Uh-huh. Nice monument there. It would be a shame if someone barricaded it off. The shutdown is revealing government's true nature - a bunch of petty extortionists. Give us money, or we'll shut down things that you like. Not because we can't afford it - it will actually cost us money - but because we can.

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043837)

What about the oppisition? Repeal ACA or you can't have anything! That sound like a civilised or even just remotely sane way to determine a nation's politics?

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043943)

Yeah, they're being extortionate too; the difference is, they're keeping within the political ambit. All politics is really about extortion, after all - that is to say, compromise. We'll pass your bill if you add this rider; we'll reject your bill unless you also give us this. It's a ridiculous way to determine policies (which is why you get so much unrelated crap and pork-barrel projects wrapped up in every piece of legislation) but it's also the way Washington's done things for years.

Note, I'm not American, and not particularly partisan - while I think the Democrat government is playing political theatre here, I also think the best way to reduce America's budget would be to stop spending so much damn money on the military, which I don't imagine the Republicans would be too fond of either.

It's not really extortion (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043849)

When they're shutting down non-essential services. Moreover, like I said, I don't know if Obama planned this effect or not. Keep in mind, it's Post 911 and post Boston-Bombing. Somebody on fark who lives in DC was talking about how these days the monuments are crawling with guards watching for terrorists. Blocking off the monuments does more than keep the terrorists out. It keeps their real targets (ordinary Americans) away from the hot spot...

Re:It's not really extortion (1)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043905)

So what, it's not really extortion if the mafia burns down your local pizza place for not paying protection money, as pizza isn't essential? Nothing about extortion requires it to be essential.

The guards probably keep all the tigers away from the monuments, too. It must be working - I don't see any tigers. Exactly how many Americans have been killed by terrorist attacks on monuments again?

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

stms (1132653) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043845)

With all the small gov't Tea Party blather out there it's nice for Americans to be reminded that gov't is a tool, and one they depend on. I for one don't want to see EPA regulation, anti-slavery and usury laws, OSHA Safety and FDA regulations go away.

Maybe if the shutdown goes on long enough people will start to miss government. But I doubt in the short term that a small number of websites used by a small number of people is going to have any impact on how people view government. In fact the more people will probably think something like "the government shut down and everything is just fine why do we need so much government".

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043861)

What makes you think that any of those things would "go away"?

Re:I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (1)

twelveinchbrain (312326) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043893)

Don't forget that it was the federal government that codified slavery and segregation in the first place.

Re: I don't know if Obama planned it this way... (2)

JWW (79176) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043979)

The same government that did all those good things also monitors everything you do on the internet and tracks all of your cellphone calls. Plus as an added bonus, it nearly randomly bombs people in countries we are not at war (or even kinetic action) with.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Don't believe me? Compare Senator Obama's statements to Emperor Obama's statements. He quickly learned from Bush that an imperial administration is aided by being at war.

Sure (5, Insightful)

protactin (206817) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043637)

I imagine it costs less to defend against and clean up after DDoS or XSS attacks on a static page, than it does against an active web site.

Re:Sure (1)

otaku244 (1804244) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043657)

I didn't think about that... good point!

Re:Sure (4, Informative)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043695)

It costs even less if you simply turn the server off.

Parked (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043903)

And for a lot of these sites, I'd bet the server is already turned off and the DNS redirected to a server hosting only static pages.

Re:Sure (2)

advocate_one (662832) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043959)

correct Astronomy Photo Of The Day (APOD) is completely dead...

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043975)

It depends. Complex systems with lots of dependencies will take a lot of man-hours to turn on and validate so it might make sense to leave parts of the infrastructure running and simply cut them off for the public. It depends on how long they expect the shutdown to last.

Customer Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043925)

Financial sense aside, it also makes sense from a customer service perspective. Most people (at least I assume as I have no idea what is considered an essential versus non-essential) will have no idea if the functions of some department are still working. Leaving the site up normally would lead one to believe all is normal. Thinking things are all normal and not being able to get any response from anyone there would be quite annoying I'd assume. Seems a good idea to notify users via any communication channel they use be it email, web, phone, etc that "sorry nobody is here to help".

It also may be cheaper to just have email pile up in your mailbox while you are away instead of sending automated out of office replies, but you'll likely piss off a lot of people.

It's a Statement, even Congressmen are doing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043645)

It's a statement and a very good one by the federal entities that are affected. No reason to shut down a website or even suspend it, but it does make a very visible statement to the stupidity that is the government shudown. Just look at how silly that congressman looked yelling at the Park Ranger for shutting down the park on the Mall in DC when it was the Congressman who supported the actions that brought abou the shutdown. Anything for a TV soundbite.

I wrote to my Congressman about the shutdown, Rob Woodall, and recieved a reply that "due to the shutdown he would not be able to respond to emails." Apparently he has too much to do that prevents him from reading emails while he has nothing else to do during the shutdown.

Re:It's a Statement, even Congressmen are doing it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043729)

On the other hand, it is pretty damn callous to deny WWII vets a chance to visit their own memorial. I'm sure that even the officer can see the stupidity, she just can't make that sort of opinion known to the whole world.

There's no good reason that the memorial *has* to be closed, it's just a memorial, not dangerous park full of bears and wildlife. They're likely paying more for these extra patrols to *keep people out* than they would during a normal patrol of the national mall and surrounding areas when tourists are visiting.

Re:It's a Statement, even Congressmen are doing it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043887)

Why don't small government conservative types take this as an opportunity to open a private for profit wwii memorial free from government competition?

Re:It's a Statement, even Congressmen are doing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043929)

The amount of garbage that piles up at the monuments is a travesty, I can't imagine it after a few days with no cleaning crew. Yeah, you need to shut them down in order to protect their message.

That said, a special exemption should be allowed for vets, one that doesn't require paperwork or anything.

No (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043661)

Does anyone really believe the facilities they shut down are due to lack of funds?

All the actually expensive stuff is "essential", and they keep paying for it. Instead, they pay people to barricade off open-air monuments, and to add modify websites to become non-functional; they pay rangers to stop people from "recreating" in national parks. It's fairly obvious that the shutdown is just Washington Monument Syndrome writ large.

It saves money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043663)

These are the same idiots who try to slash IT budgets each year because "the computers do all the work"

It saves money, Servers use electricity, they have maintenance requirements, bandwidth has associated costs. Back-end databases trigger other processes which may have a human labor component (for example a site to file a complaint does no good if no one receives it) In addition if anything goes wrong there are support issues. My guess is all of those shuttered sites are running the not available message off a single consolidated box in an "essential" facility.

it is not about the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043671)

Those sites are down because there is no-one who can tend for it when something needs attention. Also nobody can follow up on the forms that people may submit. Leaving it up may give the incorrect impression that your requests actually gets processed. Easiest way to avoid ANY misconceptions whatsoever is to lock the site.

Missing the point (5, Insightful)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043685)

It's very, very expensive to move out of your home and then back in again, even to the same home. But if you don't -- for whatever reason -- have the money to pay the rent, that may well be your only choice.

If you're expecting to have the money but your boss's accounting department is simply incompetent, you might be able to plead with your landlord. Or maybe not.

But whether staying at home or moving out is cheaper is irrelevant to the question when the rent check comes due.

That money is being wasted isn't the fault of the agencies that are shutting down. It's the fault of the Republicans who're holding the entire country hostage in a blatantly un-Constitutional attempt to repeal majority-supported legislation. They've tried dozens of times to repeal the legislation through the normal legislative process and failed miserably each time; now, they're determined to wreck the national economy (with the shutdown) and possibly even the global economy (with the default) if the majority doesn't give in to their demands. They've shot multiple prisoners already (don't forget the ongoing sequester!) and are now threatening to blow up the whole building.

In a modern democracy, their actions would long ago have resulted in the dissolution of the government and a new round of elections. And the Obama administration's support for the NSA wiretapping would also have triggered elections. Such a shame we live in a place that's rested so much on its laurels and is now so far behind the times.



Re:Missing the point (3, Informative)

tylikcat (1578365) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043847)

Though if we're going to be precise, it's not just "the Republicans" but factionalism and the Speaker's inability to command respect from members of his own party. (This isn't a particularly partisan statement - or at least, observers from both the left and right have reached the same conclusion.)

On payroll etc. - easiest costs to control (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043697)

As well as possibly benefits being frozen: This is how it always works - those not part of the "good ole' boys club" in politics or business (or family members, friends, or part of the same fraternal organization (e.g. masons)) won't keep their jobs, those who are, will. So that the wars (the MOST PROFITABLE ENTERPRISE POSSIBLE for the 1% wealthy controllers there is) can continue - Folks, It's how it's always been, it's just more apparent now (must be part of the "government transparency" they speak of, eh? Not. They can't HIDE this crap, anymore).


P.S.=> What was Obama's campaign slogan? Change?? About time for one - wholesale... apk

Party on! (2)

dak664 (1992350) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043707)

And now Congress is considering legislation to assure that furloughed workers get back pay for the vacation. []

Re:Party on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043821)

Partisan, shmartisan...

did John Kerry and Chuck Hagel get back safely and securly from their little cross-party warmongering trip yet?

While the masses are distracted (and don`t believe for a minute that Obama doesn`t realise that the masters of the democrat party are not equally influential on the republican party) by anti-otherguy shite, John Kerry and Tony B-liar are still being lauded AND PAID to negotiate the two-state solution and see Palestine stabley emerge into the "international community"......

maybe the * arrest, sieze, and deport AIPAC assets * guy was right. That would save a taxpayer a dime or two-hundred-thousand- trillion!

Forget about sites... (2)

otaku244 (1804244) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043713)

The real loss is in having to work *around* the government shut down. I have logistics work out of the country that has >2x the cost of my stay because I've had to pick up the slack of other, more qualified workers.
Not complaining about where I am (I like the travel), just pointing out that the reimbursement for my work and the logistics I've had to line up as a contractor, in my case, have far exceeded the cost of keeping the people who are responsible and proficient at this work on for another few days. Ultimately, all of this will be coming out of taxpayer dollars. While a drop in the ocean, I like to keep high standards. I can only assume I'm not the only contractor having to take on additional roles.

Been through it in private sector... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043741)

Basically, the key point is *when* the money is spent. Leading up to a furlough, the guidance was very explicit. Do whatever it takes to assure things would be consistent during the lapse. For many employees, they were essentially required to piss more money away than the company would save on that employee being out because it was too complicated to sort out the case-by-case and the deterimination was that, on the whole, things would largely work out cheaper.

The quote he throws out is precisely that, the unreasonable expense was incurred prior to shutdown, to conceivably skip out on manpower maintenance. Some will take this sort of direction as being politically motivated to make GOP look worse, but it actually has some sense given the inherently illogical things that happen in Furlough for legal reasons. Some orgs interpreted it differently than others (some inserting a warning that data is not being updated, some deciding that meant, explictly, tell people that it is not working even though they could have left it up). There is certainly some degree of people guiding their decision in order to make a point about them being furloughed (I would guess in most cases it is more likely to feeling their own livelihood personally threatened than any sort of political allegience one way or another).

If the sites are on rented servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043745)

then sure why not shut them down? But if the sites are displaying a message explaining that they're not up because of the shutdown, then isn't that an oxymoron? If you send an HTTP request to a web server and it responds with a tailored message, then the service isn't down.

I'm assuming that there are parts of these sites that the functionality of the parts require man power that isn't there now. But why not at least leave the site intact and process it all later?

Also, a better question:
Since the government is shutdown right now, why not take note of all of the money saved vs. how much life sucks now. If your life isn't sucking any more than normal, then maybe your government is fat. If your life is sucking more now, then maybe have a little more respect for your government.

Can't 0wn a server without power (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043949)

It's likely that a different HTTP server is handling the requests, just as DNS for a parked private-sector domain is pointed at a different server. The real server is probably shut off because a powered down server can't get 0wn3d.

Betteridge's law of headlines (1)

Saethan (2725367) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043775)


Well obviously. (-1, Flamebait)

argStyopa (232550) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043783)

It's government THEATER.

"Closing" the WW2 memorial? It's an OPEN AIR MONUMENT. I've been there several times and never seen a park service employee. But simply stopping trash pickup or whatever wouldn't "make a statement about how bad those dirty Republicans are."

Closing Mount Vernon? IT'S NOT EVEN GOVERNMENT OWNED - it's privately owned. They share parking space with the NPS, but again, not serviced by staff anyway.

Closing WW2 Cemeteries in Europe? Seriously?

But the chattering masses suck it up because it's easier than accepting that they're being manipulated on such a grand scale, and the news media cheerfully bleats it everywhere.

yes, but probably not how you think they do. (5, Informative)

nimbius (983462) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043791)

speaking as a hosting engineer, the sites youre seeing are in 'static maintenance' meaning the original content is replaced with a banner. since each site has a banner page for a shutdown, for example, its feasible to presume the shutdown sites were created ahead of time and are all hosted on one or two machines at government facilities that have not been shut down.

static maintenance pages arent saving cash in the form of hosting costs or electricity but they do mean your normal 'staff' of engineers and content creators for the sites can be sent home safely. you dont need to worry about content expiring, which if your the USDA or the FCC thats a good thing because you dont end up misleading people inadvertantly about advisories or notices because no one was around to remove expired content.

now, once the crisis ends and everyone goes back to work, im certain lifting the 'shutdown' banners and playing catchup with a few weeks of missed content and data is going to cost money. congressional staff are likely to begin filing their helpdesk tickets in a 'zerg rush' fashion, so anticipate their cost centers to accrue more charges than usual ( as a government IT worker, you often assign every minute of time to a department.) any unforseen outages or problems caused by say, two weeks of database updates or transactions, might be problematic and require more engineering time than had we not shut down the government. also for the static maintenance team (those guys in charge of the banner only) you'll need to start sending them backpay for their ongoing work and overtime for their miserable on-call rotations.

TL;DR: shutting down the government does not save money in the long term or short term in any appreciable amount.

Seems appropriate. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043799)

Of course website shuttering is mostly posturing. And I'm no fan of Obama but look at the other guys: They're threatening to pull the trigger on their own government because they can't accept they lost one political battle. One single issue and they'd rather have no government than admit that for once the Democrats got to score. I'd say some posturing and showing the people that stuff is at stake seems called for.

captcha: crisis

defense (2)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043807)

Well, duh, it costs them basically no money to leave a web server running as long as the web server has no failures and is not attacked. But do you want a government server up and running when you know that there will be no one available to deal with any problems that may come up???

Re:defense (1)

twelveinchbrain (312326) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043913)

Then why not actually shut the servers down? Any website is an attack vector, so you're just talking about a matter of degrees.

This has jack to do with saving money (2)

onyxruby (118189) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043811)

This has nothing to do with saving money and everything to do with spending money. This is a very important distinction as there is an old law that strictly prohibits spending money during a shutdown. If you spend money on something that isn't a critical you risk serious legal consequences. I am not defending the shutdown or either party.

That being said shutdowns do end up costing more money than they save by the time they ramp things back up. Minnesota had a shutdown a while back where the government shut down over a similar stubborn argument. The shutdown ended up costing millions of dollars more than it saved because it caused massive delays in road construction projects and the like. The construction companies (and others) sued for costing them money and the state paid out a hell of a lot of money.

Funding is from National Science Foundation (2)

ogre7299 (229737) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043835)

The funding for NRAO comes from the National Science Foundation, which is funded by the federal government. When an appropriations bill was not passed, NSF did not get any money, so they could not give any money to NRAO to continue operating. The National Science Foundation could not authorize NRAO to continue operating without funding. So, in short, this isn't being done to save money, it's being done because there is no money.

Its magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043839)

No really. Its just smoke and mirrors people.

Short answer: Yes, it makes sense (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043853)

Longer answers as to why:
1. As someone else mentioned, a simple static page is a lot less vulnerable to attack or disruption than a functional page.
2. Bandwidth costs are lower, since all you have are people hitting the site, seeing the shuttering, and going away again, rather than actually using it.
3. Anything behind the front page, such as databases, can and probably are shut down completely, saving on power and bandwidth.
4. Information provided on sites that aren't updated is likely to be inaccurate, which is worse than no information at all.
5. The cost to shutting them down can't have been all that high, since here's the process: (1) Have a developer make a static "We're not open for business" page, (2) have your admins configure front-end webservers with a mod_rewrite (or equivalent) to direct all traffic to that page, (3) shut down anything that's not a front-end webserver. Yes, it wasn't free, but my guess is whoever is coming up with the costs is factoring in paying the tech staff they already had on salary to do the work.

Basically, what I'm seeing is people who advocated shutting down the entire federal government as a complete waste of money are now going "Wait, I didn't mean that, or that, or that other thing." It's sort of like the reaction if you are told to remove everything from a messy room and start throwing absolutely everything out.

Re:Short answer: Yes, it makes sense (1)

twelveinchbrain (312326) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043927)

Then why not shut the website down altogether? Even a static page is vulnerable to attack, costs bandwidth, etc. If the web servers are on the same network, then the database servers and application servers are also vulnerable. You're just talking about a matter of degrees, whereas actually unplugging machines from the network would totally eliminate the problems you listed.

Really? (0)

koan (80826) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043863)

There is someone out there ignorant enough to believe the entire shut down is *not* a political ploy?

It's Obama saying "Oh you want a shut down" and then focusing on the very things that piss the most people off, it has absolutely nothing to do with running the country or common sense.

It's petty, it's vengeance, and I've had enough... how about you?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043935)

So what are you going to do about it you passive agressive pussy faggot?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043945)

You may be right, buddy.
It IS a ploy, and very few citizens or politicians OVERSTAND that to declare AIPAC a foreign-agency, arrest their spies, seize their assets, then follow their tentacles all the way to Washington (and back) dismissing and deporting their dual-national israeli-passport holding agents in local,state,and federal government, and peripheral "sectors" would most certainly eliminate (bare minimum estimate) 25% of the budget!

signed, X von the bamboozled hoodwinked

Long term costs almost uncalculable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043867)

So many experiments destroyed mid-way that have to be restarted, so much data lost. All for nothing.

It's about putting pressure on the GOP (1)

schwit1 (797399) | 1 year,17 days | (#45043895) []

A federal Park Service Ranger admitted being ordered to make life as difficult as possible in order to make Americans feel the most pain as a result of the partial government shutdown ... Same happened at the beginning of the sequester..

Hatch Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043951)

If one were involved with running, say, several dozen government websites, one would probably have received several briefings regarding public speech in one's capacity as a government official, and how such speech could constitute a violation of the Hatch Act.

Obama lovers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#45043957)

This is, of course, nothing more that a devious political act by the Obama administration to stir up anger among liberal socialist and his democrat ilk. As one park ranger angrily stated, he has been ordered to do everything possible to cause disgust and anger among the politically ignorant. The democrats are a politically corrupt and exceeding evil group. Their sole purpose in everything is to try to force their ways upon every American with the goal of a totalitarian state in the end. This is the reason for their relentless push for gun control. As long ad the American people have guns, they will be able to stand up and resist the state's totalitarian pursuit. All wise men know that the eventual purpose and result of a totalitarian state is to purge any perceived opposition through mass genocide.

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