United States Government Shutdown Begins As Congress Hits Dead End

Mount Washington in New Hampshire is on the Appalachian Trail, which itself is one leg of the Triple Crown of Hiking. The other legs are the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.

Snowshoeing in the White Mountains, New Hampshire The White Mountains of New Hampshire are popular for winter outdoor sports enthusiasts because they keep their snow longer than other regions of the United States. But the weather there can be intense and unpredictable. Even if you’re experienced in snowshoeing, you’ll need reliable winter weather navigation and avalanche preparedness. It’s not for the novice traveler. Sandmine Challenge, Missouri When you mix running with spelunking the exploration of caves you get “sperunking” at the annual Sandmine Challenge each February in Crystal City, Missouri. Technically, the 4-mile race is held under Crystal City, located about 35 miles south of St. Louis. Competitors in the underground race through an old sand mine. They run, climb, wade and crawl almost entirely on a sand surface. That surface is sometimes wet and sometimes dry, sometimes shallow and sometimes deep. Race proceeds benefit PayBack Inc., a St. Louis nonprofit juvenile restitution/community service agency.

"Congress needs to keep our governemnt open and pay our bills on time : President Barack Obama speaks at the White House in Washington.

The president warned however that many non essential civilian contractors, unlike their colleagues in uniform, wont be paid. Chances of a last-minute deal – seen so often in past fiscal fights – evaporated shortly before midnight as the House stood firm on its call to delay major parts of President Barack Obamas health-care law for a year. Senate Democrats were equally firm in refusing. As the US government sped toward shutdown, lawmakers lobbed dead-end proposals across the Capitol and began blaming each other for failing to come up with a way to fund the government. The House voted 228-201 to pass its third version of a short-term extension of government funding in the past 10 days. Each attempt linked averting a shutdown to major changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and each drew veto threats from US President Barack Obama. About an hour later, the Senate rejected that plan on a 54-46 vote, putting pressure on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the Republicans. Theyve lost their minds, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. They keep trying to do the same thing over and over again. The House sought a conference committee with the Senate, said a Republican leadership aide on condition of anonymity. Republicans said Democrats were unwilling to negotiate and Democrats said the House was trying to extort policy changes on a plan that would, at most, keep government open through December 15. Hours after talking by phone with President Obama, Boehner urged the House to pass its latest plan. It delays by a year the mandate that uninsured individuals buy health coverage and prevents the government from making contributions to the health care of lawmakers, their staffs and political appointees.

Can Iran trust the United States?

About 800,000 of those workers, from tax agents to janitors, are bearing the brunt of the shutdown, forced to stay home without pay. There was no end in sight to the impasse in Washington, which centres on Republican attempts to curtail President Barack Obama’s health care law as part of a temporary funding bill. For the greater public, random activities of daily life are becoming casualties. Two dozen October weddings, including nine this week, are in jeopardy because they’re scheduled for closed off monument sites in Washington. The same was true for a New Jersey couple planning to marry at the Grand Canyon. Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le have a permit to get married Saturday on the lawn near the Jefferson Memorial. That looks like it’s not going to happen so they are scrambling for alternate sites, including the restaurant booked for their reception. Their new Twitter hashtag: #shutdownwedding. It’s not just romance, tourism and public events that are in jeopardy. Consider the Wisconsin farmer who can’t cash a check for a cow he sold. Ben Brancel, the state’s agriculture secretary, said that because the farmer has a federal loan, he can’t cash the check without both his own signature and one from a Farm Service Agency official, unavailable during the shutdown. “Our advice to him was he was going to have to wait, that there wasn’t anything he could do about it,” Brancel said. There are harsher consequences, too.

Across United States, shutdown upends lives from weddings to pre-school programs and vacations

Covert warfare has also taken the form of the assassination of Iranian scientists and cyber warfare. (It strains credulity to think that Israel, which annually receives billions in U.S. military assistance, acts without the knowledge of U.S. officials.) Then there are the economic sanctions. In international law, sanctions are an act of war. How could they not be? They aim to deprive a population of food, medicine, and other needed goods. The sanctions are said to cripple the Iranian economy, but an economy consists of people. Thus, sanctions inflict harm on innocent individuals, with the greatest damage to children, the elderly, and the sick. That is cruel and unconscionable. It must stop, yet some in Congress would toughen the sanctions further.

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