Thursday, October 03, 2013

Meanwhile, on planet Zongo...

Behold the memorial to the USS Indianapolis located on the canal walk in the eponymous city. It's a relatively simple affair: No museums or tour guides or anything.

Suppose I was in charge of maintaining it and they told me "Hey, we're out of money, so you've got zero budget. You're furloughed." What would I do?

Well, I'd cut the power to those floodlights and fountains. Can't pay the electric bill, after all. I'd let whoever was doing the flag-raising and -lowering know that the flags needed to come down and I wouldn't be needing their services again until the payroll started coming in again. I'd call the guy who cut the grass and weeded the flower beds and washed the bird crap off the granite and tell him he had an unexpected unpaid vacation.

It's different on Planet Chris Gerrib, though! There, the first thing you do when you run out of money is rent hundreds of linear yards of event fencing and pay seven guys to come out and put it up all around the thing because, dammit, if my lawn mowing guy's not happy, ain't nobody happy.

It costs the government a lot of money for people to walk across the sidewalk and look at that rock unsupervised, after all!


Chris Gerrib said...

Two problems:

1) In Indy, if there's a problem, from teenagers being teenagers to something more serious, the local PD is responsible. In DC, the Park Police (who are on furlough) are responsible. So in DC keeping the memorial open means (at best) an unfunded patrol mandate for the DC city cops.

2) In Indy or DC, if somebody slips and falls, you are still liable, and if you're not maintaining it, you pay. If the memorial is closed such that somebody has to go around a fence, then you can argue the fence-jumper assumed the risk.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Progressives love unfunded mandates, though, so your first argument has no merit. Unless it does.

And as for the liability problem -- easily solved by posting signs disclaiming responsibility. Kind of like "no lifeguard on duty -- swim at your own risk."

Most of us don't need a nanny state to tell us such things. Apparently you do.

Chris Gerrib said...

a nanny state to tell us such things. Apparently you do.

That's basic liability going back to English common law.

Tam said...

...hence the token barricades at the other memorials, which you seem to be going "LALALALALALALALALA!" about.

Why the six feet of fence at the WWI Memorial viz the six hundred feet of rented fence at the WWII Memorial, Chris? Wouldn't that be political showboating?

Chris Gerrib said...

Tam - the Lincoln, Jefferson, Vietnam and Korea memorials were blocked. Either they ran out of fence by the time they got to the WWI memorial or they decided that wasn't going to draw the number of visitors the others were.

Considering I for one didn't even know that we had a WWI memorial in DC, I suspect that somebody who gets paid to maintain these sites made the later decision.

Chris Gerrib said...

Actually, according to this site, there is no national WWI memorial.

The only hit on WWI memorial in DC comes up with is the District of Colombia memorial which is NOT the monument pictured in your Ace of Spades link.

Anonymous said...

It's official name is the 2nd Infantry Division Memorial


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

The Park Police, being police, are not furloughed, to my knowledge.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I am wondering why they haven't thought to close the GW Parkway or BW parkway, major highways and a primary method of getting to 2 of the 3 major airports that service DC/MD/VA.

Chris Gerrib said...

The Park Police, being police, are not furloughed, to my knowledge then they are working for free.

Congress has not allocated any money to pay them, or anybody from the air traffic controllers to the grunt in Afghanistan. They won't start getting paid until Congress passes a budget, and Congress will have to add provisions to pay them retroactively.

Yet this blog wants to make sure people can access memorials while the people who are currently doing the work of the country are doing so for free.

Perhaps some of the heat is misdirected.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they fenced off this one yet?


Anonymous said...

What a bizarro world you live in, Chris. Nobody here is saying we need to keep parks open during a shutdown. What I and others object to is spending money to actively block access to something when it's cheaper to just simply do nothing and leave it open.

Like I said in the previous post, in 1995, Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii was "closed" due to the shutdown, but nobody was putting up barricades to keep people out. They simply closed the buildings that required staff and left the thing open for people to drive around and access of their own free will. But that was a saner time, when the inmates weren't in complete control of the asylum.

(Never thought I'd refer to the Clinton era as a saner time. SMH)


Scott J said...

Tam, I didn't know you were from La Mancha.

I thought you were from the Atlanta area.


Stuart the Viking said...

"(Never thought I'd refer to the Clinton era as a saner time. SMH)"

I've been saying that for a number of years now, and it STILL surprises me every time that thought occurs to me.


Tam said...

"s to the grunt in Afghanistan. "

Was this ignorance, or an intentional lie on your part?

rickn8or said...

Well that evil Republican Lincoln Memorial is closed, what about the (spit!) FDR Memorial?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

My big objection is the "political theatre" nature of many of the park shutdowns. As one example, the Park Service has barrycaded a privately funded, staffed, and maintained attraction that simply happens to be on federal land. The blocking of other unstaffed memorials smacks strongly of the same style-over-substance, especially in the way it was done, and considering that these same memorials have remained open during past shutdowns.

Robert said...

"(Never thought I'd refer to the Clinton era as a saner time. SMH)"

They simply were'nt as far along with their "progress" as they are now. Baby steps y'know.

Chuck said...

In 1995, the memorials were not fenced off. This is about vindictiveness and petulance, not liability.

Also, the active duty military is being paid. Congress passed and Obama signed H.R. 3210, the Pay Our Military Act on September 30th.

Patrick Henry said...

Chris also ignores the fact that the memorial is open many hours without being staffed. Why is the liability suddenly different?

Because he's making no sense and trying to justify and unjustifiable position.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Incorrect, Gerrib. Essential personnel that are working are being paid. The Park Police are gonna get their check.

Has anything you asserted in this thread been true yet?

KM said...

In Indy or DC, if somebody slips and falls, you are still liable

Not necessarily.
Generally, the property owner would have to have known that a hazard existed and done nothing about it. Just falling on your ass does not automatically make you a lottery winner.

In 1995, the memorials were not fenced off. This is about vindictiveness and petulance, not liability


Chris Gerrib said...

Servicemembers are now getting paid, which I did not know. Everybody not in the DoD is not getting paid.

Liability is a function of maintenance, not having somebody there. Maintenance is not happening.

The WWII memorial was built with private funds but maintained by the Park District.

Tam said...

So, your position basically remains LALALALA! ?

Murphy's Law said...

Late to the party here, but as has been stated, the Park Police have not been furloughed. They are all at work right now, and some are even still assigned to stand at those very monuments that Obama has ordered fenced off as part of his political street theater. There's no liability involved in keeping things open, especially monuments that are either still staffed by Park Police as normal or not staffed by anyone at all--police or rangers--like the FDR and MLK sites or the DC War Memorial (WW1 Monument).

More interestingly, the Park Police apparently resent being shoved into the mix and payed as puppets for Odrama because they've taken a hands-off attitude and are not actively enforcing the closures or booting visitors out of places like the Korean and Vietnam Memorials. People who walk around the fences are still allowed to see the memorials, which is fitting because they are America's memorials, not Barry Obama's or Michelle's private property. The government has had shut-downs before but this is the first time in history that a sitting president has personally directed that these memorials and open spaces like the whole National Mall be fenced off and kept from the American people. He should be ashamed and so should any and every one of his supporters.

Murphy's Law said...

Chris--ALL of those monuments--from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, to the new MLK abomination--were initially built with private funds then turned over to the Park Service to maintain. So your last post has as much persuasive force as that oft-pictured rabbit with the pancake on it's head.

Caleb said...

It's worth noting that "essential personnel" like various LE agencies are still paying some of their people; those are working without pay are working for deferred comp, which means they will be paid their back wages once the .gov is funded again.

Unless the shutdown continues past October 15th, the vast majority of the "unpaid" federal workers won't even miss a paycheck.

Paul said...

My daughter is actively serving. The Nat Guard on her base are not being paid. She currently is being paid, but is concerned that this could change.

We have not had a budget for 5 years.

This is all about discretionary spending.

it is 100% political theater.

The repubs will be able to say we fought to stop it and the Dems can say we got your money.

Every one did something, all of them did nothing.

Whatta crock.

Tam said...

So, Chris, the military's still being paid, Park Police are on duty, and your liability argument is getting increasingly shaky.

Got anything other than "You Teahadi poopy-heads!" for a rebuttal?

Chris Gerrib said...

No, Tam my position remains that the National Parks, all of them, are closed, because we do not have money to maintain them. Normally, closed means "not allowed in" but apparently on Planet Zongo closed means "allowed in on the ones we want."

We did, apparently, exempt the military from this - something that didn't happen when I was in - although all of the DoD civilians are staying home. 97% of NASA is staying home.

But apparently that's okay as long as one monument is open, and it's "Alinsky-ish thuggery" to close something you don't have money to operate.

Murphy's Law said...


Can you please explain why the federal parkways have not been closed despite a lack of grounds staff? The George Washington, Baltimore-Washington, Clara Barton and Suitland Parkways are all still open and in use today even though park service maintenance personnel are furloughed.

Explain that, as it pokes a big hole in your already weak argument that it's only about lack of maintenance.

Tam said...


"But apparently that's okay as long as one monument is open, and it's "Alinsky-ish thuggery" to close something you don't have money to operate."

Reading is FUNdamental! The post title you misquote ("Alinskyan Smashmoruth Politics") opened with mocking the congresspeople who flocked to the cameras to get some airtime, and the title referred to the paid SEIU non-union "protestors" posing as furloughed government employees. Many of the latter read this blog and so I knew they'd enjoy seeing their quandary being used for political theater.

Somehow you misread thi...wait, you didn't misread it at all. You came in to this discussion with an agenda, didn't you? This really isn't about monuments or veterans, but Obamacare?

You've got two more comments to convince me you're arguing in good faith.

Hunsdon said...

Particularly regarding national monuments, I don't think it would be impossible to send out an e-mail to veteran's organizations, the Boy Scouts, groups like that: hey, we need a working party on Saturday to show up and cut the grass.

Chris Gerrib said...

Tam - I may have misread your post. I took the focus on the WWII memorial as what many on the R side of the aisle are - an attempt to attack the President for doing something because of Republican obstruction.

I'll try to restate my arguments:

1) Closing the WWII memorial is not a partisan act. It's what happens when the organization charged with running it (The National Park Service, which is not getting private money for operations) is closed. When you don't have the money to operate you have to decide what needs to stay open (roads) and what needs to close (monuments).

2) The only reason the government is closed is because the Republicans do not have the votes to overturn Obamacare, and so are trying to take hostages. There are no other issues at stake in the shutdown.

3) I could care less about the protesters and who they are paid by.

4) Although there have been some piecemeal efforts, large chunks of the government aren't working, and as this mess draws out that number will only get larger. Even in "critical" departments like Defense, "non-critical" employees aren't working and their jobs are not getting done.

Will said...


unfortunately, that would NOT be allowed. The .gov at any level will not tolerate citizens doing something that is within the .gov's purview. Might take away their reason to exist, or make them look bad. Can't have that, no matter what the circumstances.

og said...

My G-d, he really is that ignorant.

Murphy's Law said...

Chris, the Park Service is pretty clear when they say that the WHITE HOUSE ordered them to close the monuments.

So yeah, it's nothing more than Odrama to make people upset. They actually SPENT Money to bring in the Barry-cades and pay people to put them up. Soon we'll spend more to reverse it, for no reason other than to let Odrama scream about "mean Republicans".

Also, maybe you missed it like Barry did, but we have a system where the president shares power with a bi-cameral legislature. He's not king and everything that the House is doing is within their powers granted them by our founding fathers via the Constitution as a check on his power. Many of us do not want Obamacare and the House is reflecting that view--it's why we voted them in last election--to stop this attack on our freedoms by Barry and his brownshirt Dems. Make you mad that he's been thwarted? Blame the framers of our Constitution, kid.

But as of yesterday, we have Republicans passing bills to fund the Park Service, the National GUard, the National Institute of Health, and other things that the Dems have been screaming about, and the DEMS rejected each and every one of those bills. So now whose fault is it, Chris?

Tam said...


"3) I could care less about the protesters and who they are paid by. "

So you hijacked the comments section of a post about the protestors and who they were paid by to make it about something else?

That next post had better be a doozy, because now I'm about convinced that you are not arguing in good faith. Every time one of your points gets shown to be erroneous, you pick the goal post up and move it.

Why were the monuments not closed in '95-'96, Chris? Be sincere.

Chris Gerrib said...

The OMB employs 529 people, They are also the organization responsible for determining what is "essential" and "non-essential." When the Congress declines to fund the government, the Executive, which in this case is the OMB, tells the rest of the Executive what to keep open and what to close. In short, orders from OMB are not coming direct from the President.

All of the Republican bills are either piecemeal and/or want to halt or delay Obamacare. None of them can pass the Senate, and the House refuses to vote on what the Senate has passed.

Our system requires agreement, and if all three groups (House, Senate and President) don't agree nothing happens. Right now, two of the three want to enforce a duly-enacted law. The third doesn't, and is using funding as a stick with which to beat the other two.

ShallNotBeInfringed said...

Wait for it...

Chris Gerrib said...

Tam - I don't know why the monuments weren't closed in 95. I thought they were, actually.

I started the other comment thread by asking why one would expect a non-essential monument (or for that matter a non-essential anything) to be open when the government was shut down.

Somebody has to make a decision as to what is essential and non-essential. You apparently don't like or agree with that decision, but not liking it doesn't make it partisan.

Will said...

Chris G:

The big point you seem to be missing/overlooking about this situation is the pettiness being displayed by the current occupant of the Oval Office. Historically, the citizens of this nation have not gotten too worked up over bullshit from that office, no matter who it was. However, when pettiness is displayed, it raises our hackles. This sort of action indicates a person with a loose grasp of mental processes. Erratic thinking should not be a hallmark of them, because it could be really dangerous to the nation. Petty people are bad news no matter what position they fill. They should never be tolerated, because they are too damn expensive, due to the end result of their lack of clear thinking. They ignore the consequences of their temper and/or ego. More likely, they can't make the connection between them.

og said...

"why one would expect a non-essential monument (or for that matter a non-essential anything) to be open when the government was shut down."


This requires deliberate ignorance of the fact that something that is free to leave open costs money to close. It requires herculean mental gymnastics to arrive at this point, which is a feat only possible if you have already practiced extensively by rationalizing the wonder of the God King.

Hey, if Democrats were doing this, it would probably be a " legitimate function of the democratic process"

staghounds said...

"...the Executive, which in this case is the OMB, tells the rest of the Executive what to keep open and what to close. "

Umm, the President IS the executive. Like the Park Service and the Navy, OMB works for him and he is where the buck stops.

" In short, orders from OMB are not coming direct from the President."

Pull the other one.

Mike_C said...

"3) I could care less about the protesters and who they are paid by. "

So just how much less could you care? Generally when I don't give a rat's ass about something I couldn't care less. But that's just me. Yeah, I'm being snide, but I'm having real trouble trying to figure out whether you really don't get the point about the WWII monument or are just trolling. JF said it above, but I guess it bears repeating:
" What I and others object to is spending money to actively block access to something when it's cheaper to just simply do nothing and leave it open."

And "liability" is a clearly a contrived answer because if they really cared about safety, "ran out of fence" is hardly an excuse to continue to allow public access to a now suddenly dangerous but attractive nuisance such as the WWI memorial.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Right now, two of the three want to enforce a duly-enacted law. The third doesn't, and is using funding as a stick with which to beat the other two."

You do realize, I hope, that funding is the stick specifically given to the House by the Constitution to beat the other two with when the House deems necessary?

Paul Schwa said...

Mars needs morons!
Time to hop on your private spaceship and make the trip.

Joe in PNG said...

Please do remember that the "Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism" meme is dormant until the next Repug Administration.

Windy Wilson said...

If they didn't spend money they didn't have to put yellow tape around everything they could think of putting the tape around, how would the ignorati who vote for free goodies know the government had shut down, except for the wild-eyed news readers on TV talking about it?

Murphy's Law said...

Hmmmm....National Monuments without rangers or maintenance staff. That makes the shutdown pretty much resemble ANY NIGHT AFTER 11PM when all of the park service people leave until 0700 the next day. Yet the monuments never get blocked off on those evenings, do they, Chris?

Kristophr said...

85% of the US government is still functioning.

The only one holding anything hostage here are Obama and Reid. Reid can end this at any time by agreeing to put off Obamacare by one year.

This is pure political theatre, just like some small town closing the kids swimming pool because they didn't get a bloated tax levy passed.

As for your nonsense about "KINGS-X, IT WAS PASSED, NO TAKING IT BACK !!!111ELEVENTY!!", I suggest taking some remedial Social Studies classes. All funding originates in the House. If they don't approve funding, it doesn't happen. I suggest you work to get more Democrats elected to the House if you don't like it.

Greg Tag said...


Gotta jump in on this.

Chris- I do not know what you do for a living, but Ill bet its not insurance or law.

The Common Law Liability Doctrine is " you cannot sue the King". We have turned that into " you can't sue the US without it's specific permission."

1)There IS no liability incurred by the US for people to wander around an open lawn studded with blocks of granite or limestone. Even when it is "closed" , its still open. What is there to close- it is a lawn - doesnt even have a fence around it. Even when the place is open, do the rangers take the elderly and escort them personally one-by-one?

2) It likely cost several thousand dollars to barricade the place - what idiot would authorize such a silly expenditure? I suspect I know who the idiot is, and the purpose was to stick a thumb in the eye of visitors, Republicans and anyone who thinks the FedGov is too big. This sort of action is the act of a selfish , narcissistic churl with a Napoleon complex... again, not naming names here.

Your defense of the park barricade is illogical, and not based on the law .

What axe are you grinding here in Tam's world?

Regards to all


Ted N said...

Chris is another data point in my "The Well of Stupid is Bottomless" hypothesis.

ShallNotBeInfringed said...

Chris Gerrib, the "Science Fiction hobby-writing" writer behind the marvelous musings that sally forth from the Private Mars Rocket blog on LiveJournal. Lately it seems he is pontificating about the myths surrounding Obama Care. It seems that "Science Fiction hobby-writing" can be used to describe everything that oozes out of his mind and sloshes onto the web.

We may or may not have been trolled...

Anonymous said...

He does seem sincere, though. Stubborn, stupid, ill-informed, batty, etc.
But sincere nonetheless....makes him a dangerous voter.

Anonymous said...

Obama sends armed agents to shut down and barricade a private operation, just to spit on the peasants: NPS Orders Closure of Park that Receives No Federal Funding

“In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service … I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS,” Eberly said.

But I'm sure it's just a liability issue. They really have our best interests at heart.


Kristophr said...

Interesting. Nixon closed the Washington Monument during a similar budget shutdown. Nixon also shut down the Moon program.

It is nice to know that Obama is going Nixon on us. I don't suppose he will become as competent as Nixon ...

Tam said...


re: Nixon

Nice to know I was ahead of the curve on that one.

Ken said...

Dear Chris: You might pass along to your handler that it's not supposed to be obvious that you have one.

Anonymous said...

More evidence that the leftist apologists are exactly that:

“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

Obama pisses on our heads and tells us it's raining


ShallNotBeInfringed said...

And the lefty turkeys just open their beaks and look up.

Rick C said...

I don't know if anyone here reads Rand Simberg's Transterrestrial Musings blog but Gerrib's been a commenter there and is well-known for "arguing" in a typical liberal manner, which, as Tam has already noticed, mainly consists of fairly fact-free assertions, constant goal-post moving, and an amazingly selective ability to ignore things that aren't conducive to his point.

Anonymous said...

BTW, apparently Gerrib isn't paying enough attention to notice that the parks and forest services aren't closing *all* the monuments--just the popular ones. There's been articles all over the place today and yesterday talking about Appalachian trails where only the popular ones are closed, and some of the slightly-less-popular ones might have a single barricade, but the ones farther away are all unblocked.

It would probably be funny to see him complain "well, that costs a lot of money, to physically Barrycade all those park/entrances" when that was one of Tam's major points of why the Barrycades are dumb in this and the previous comment thread.

WV: assuppr. What Chris Gerrib is being.

Rick C said...

Oops, that last comment was me.

Goober said...

Chris, then why close blm boat launches on the salmon river in Idaho using fencing they had to pay someone to install?

And before you start, these are unstaffed unimproved primitive launches. They are "use at your own risk " every single day.

The contempt they are showing here is really disheartening