OK, the government is shut down. For the first few days, we were all joking, "How can we tell?" Not funny any more. Regardless of one's position on the issues, it takes the House, Senate, and President together to negotiate seriously, and our leaders are pretty darn slow in coming around to that. So next time I vote, my slogan is, "A plague on all your Houses. And White Houses. And Senate Chambers."
I think leaders of agencies deserve some brickbats, too, for assuming until the end that this wouldn't happen and not having more arrangements in place to keep critical research going through standby agreements with universities, agreements to share essential personnel across agencies, etc. It would still be terrible, but maybe a little less so. Now we have NASA unable to do much of anything except keep the ISS astronauts supported, researchers in the Antarctic with no money to continue science but somehow enough money to bring them home, and nuclear labs closing (aren't those sort of essential by definition?) (The NASA article, BTW, came to my attention via a post by Shannon Bohle, who has a great blog here.) And the NIH unable to enroll new patients in trials that might, you know, save their lives.
And pandacams shut down. Seriously? How many cents a day did it cost to run the pandacams? I'll pay for it.
Reminder to DC: Despite all the turmoil in America, we voters still have one power: we can still send every one of your butts home. And maybe we should.