Thank God it’s Friday: The shutdown is a human condition edition

Thank God it's FridayThe government shutdown is now on its 11th day and doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. From many of our perches here in the far North, from thousands of miles away from the heart of the fighting, it can all look as abstract as a Pollock painting. All drips and splatters, until something that we recognize jumps out. A friend, perhaps, who doesn’t get a disability check. An uncle who’s a trying to get into a government-funded medical study. A trip to the social security office. A neighbor who can’t send her child to Head Start.

Others, like me, have no connection whatever to the shutdown and the abstraction remains until a good story catches our eye. And it becomes even more real when we’re confronted with a series of them.

The list compiled by Zack Fields, communications director for the Alaska Democratic Party, did this for me. It turned what I had been viewing as a political story into a human one.

I’ve taken the liberty of cutting and pasting Fields’ work for my Friday facts column. I don’t usually do this and I won’t make it a habit in the future. But it’s likely more of an exhaustive list than I could come up with. And I’m currently in Iowa visiting relatives, four of whom are under the age of 15. None of them are in danger of shutting down anytime soon.

Here’s the list of some of the stories about the human toll of the shutdown from around the state:

  • Veteran couple denied benefit claims [KTVA, 10/8/13]
  • Alaska quietly losing jobs as shutdown grinds on. [Anchorage Daily News, 10/6/13]
  • Homeless, Disabled Anchorage Veteran Turned Away From Veterans Benefits Office Due To Shutdown After Attempting To File A Claim For Medical Care. [KTVA, 10/8/13]
  • 35 Civilian Coast Guard Workers, Including Boating Safety Specialists, Planners & Administrators, Placed On Furlough Due To Shutdown. [Anchorage Daily News, 10/5/13]
  • Alaska National Guard Forced To Furlough 700 Federal Technicians Due To Shutdown. [Alaska Dispatch, 10/1/13]
  • Alaska military medical facilities’ services are being scaled back. [KTOO, 10/1/13]
  • Benefit claims for Alaska’s 74,000 veterans will be processed “at a much slower rate.” [KTOO, 10/1/13]
  • Nearly 25 Percent of Alaskans Face Financial Hardships in Government Shutdown” [KTUU 10/8/13]
  • Unemployment in Alaska rising due to shutdown [APRN 10/8/13]
  • Fishing guides, others, feel effects of shutdown. [Peninsula Clarion, 10/7/13]
  • Shutdown Put Crabbing Industry At Risk – Hundreds Of Fishermen Earn Half Of Their Annual Pay During Four-Week King Crab Season.  [NBC, 10/8/13]
  • Kenai Fishing Guide Reported Losing $1500 In Revenue Since Shutdown Due To Suspension Of Permits. [Peninsula Clarion, 10/7/13]
  • Furloughed Employees Struggle To Pay Bills. [KSTK, 10/7/13]
  • Wrangell Family, Impacted By Government Shutdown: ‘You Know, The Power Company Doesn’t Accept IOUs.’ [KSTK, 10/7/13]
  • Federal shutdown could delay crab fisheries. [KUCB, 10/4/13]
  • Commercial Operators Unable To Take New Clients To Hunting Spots Within National Parks. [KTUU, 10/4/13]
  • Government shutdown stops timber sales. [Associated Press, 10/4/13]
  • The U.S. Forest Service confirmed Friday it is shutting down logging operations on national forests across the country due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. [Associated Press, 10/4/13]
  • Local businesses feel impact of furloughs.  [Juneau Empire, 10/7/13]
  • KTUU: Furloughs Take a Toll on Alaska Families, Could Hurt Economy. [KTUU, 10/2/13]
  • Due to high percentage of federal workers, ‘Shutdown could have huge effects in Alaska.’ [APRN, 10/1/13]
  • Shutdown puts thousands in Alaska temporarily out of work, close National Park facilities, send air crash investigators home and shut down Head Start centers. [Anchorage Daily News, 9/30/13]
  • Shutdown places thousands of Alaskans on unpaid furloughs. [Anchorage Daily News, 9/30/13]
  • Coffee Shop Across From Juneau Federal Building Saw Downturn In Business – If Shutdown Continues, Employees May Be Let Go. [Juneau Empire, 10/7/13]
  • Furloughed Alaskans go home.  [KTVA, 10/1/13]
  • Shutdown Means Limited Access to Federal Lands in Alaska. [KTUU, 10/4/13]
  • Hunting In National Wildlife Refuges Prohibited Under Government Shutdown. [KTUU, 10/4/13]
  • Anchorage Social Security office is unable to process new Social Security cards, access records due to shutdown. [KTUU, 10/1/13]
  • Government Shutdown Expected To Delay Closing Process On Home Sales In Alaska. [KTUU, 10/4/13]
  • School Field Trips Cancelled As A Result Of BLM Property Shuttered Due To Government Shutdown. [KTVA, 10/1/13]
  • Government Shutdown Stalls Aviation Oversight.  [KTUU, 10/3/13]
  • Only 10 Out Of 172 Aviation Safety Inspectors In Alaska Remained On Job Due To Shutdown. [KTUU, 10/3/13]
  • Maintenance Of Automatic Systems To Monitor Geological Activity, Including Volcanoes, Had Stopped – If Shutdown Continues, ‘Eventually We’ll Start Seeing Some Serious Problems.’ [KTUU, 10/3/13]
  • Alaska NTSB plane crash investigators placed on furlough – incidents now being reported to skeleton FAA crew, attempting to operate 24-7 with just three employees. [Anchorage Daily News, 9/30/13]
  • Who Won’t Be At Work: Those Tasked With Enforcing Laws… [Alaska Dispatch, 10/1/13]

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4 thoughts on “Thank God it’s Friday: The shutdown is a human condition edition

  1. Jeff55

    Great article. The govt shutdown is a disgrace. It sounds as if our Alaska delegation is acting fairly responsible. So disappointed to see Sarah Palin in DC at the WWII mmemorial protest with Senator Cruz. They are nothing but cheap trick performers. Sarah Palin is someone I voted for and has since made me ashamed of my vote. These partisan so-called patriots are destroying the nation’s economy. They are simply too dumb to know it. For all their showmanship and fake heroic efforts, you would think they would lead a more meaningful protest, maybe like restoring treatment to child cancer patients. Oh silly me, that would require them to use two parts of their anatomy that they are short on; their brains and their hearts.

  2. Larry D

    At least our Senators , Begich and Murkowski, are trying to bring reason to the table. Sounds as if Don Young is okay too. What worries me is this dumbass very light governor we have that’s running for senate. He’s trying to act like some teaparty crazy. First, I think that is poor judgement and knowing a little of his history, does he think you have to act like a dumbass to get elected in Alaska ? I’m disgusted with politicians who put partisan stuff ahead of important stuff. I don’t like Obamacare as a whole; yet, it has some important parts that are good. Instead of voting 47 times to repeal the law, why doesn’t Congress work to fix it. We need statesmen. Not more partisan showoffs like Sen Cruz. Teadwell is exactly hat we don’t need more of. Good compilation. The shutdown is hurting the economy of our country, many small businesses and hardworking families. Treadwell either can’t relate to this or is too dumb. I’m voting for Begich. Don’t like Democrats but he’s better than Treadwell for that matter, anyone is.

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