FET 230 Hours Furlough Report

Now to grow my hair out so I look like the guy from Sleepy Hollow.

Now to grow my hair out so I look like the guy from Sleepy Hollow.

 

Duration of Furlough: 9 days and counting

Work not done: I forgot to mention that yesterday I would have had my branch staff meeting.  What’s so important about that?  Well, once a month I get everyone in my branch together and I give out Tastykakes!  I try to recognize any notable accomplishments from the previous month.  Thus I have been deprived of the most fun thing I get to do every month – throwing food at people.

The other big thing that we’re falling behind on is training people to be flight controllers.  Five people in our branch are currently working toward certification – two in our ISE flight control group, two in our PLUTO flight control group, and 1 Daily Ops Instructor.  These five people are needed to either fill spots for people who have left or to help offload other team members.  All five will be assigned to missions as soon as they achieve certification.  The sooner this training is completed, the better off we are as an org.

Outlook for Continuing Resolution passage by Congress: Hints at a possible temporary solution are emerging; though if we’re back in the same position in a month, it’s going to royally suck.

By the way, if this kid doesn’t burst into my house when the shutdown is over, then I’m going to be incredibly disappointed. Good thing I’m used to that feeling by now.

Have I showered today? Yes. Painting makes me sweat.

Chores done: Dishes

Wife-Requested Tasks: Painted the master bathroom.  My wife considers new paint on the walls ‘exciting.’  We have different definitions for the word ‘exciting.’

Video games played: I ain’t got time for that.

Mood: Skeptical.

Republicans seem to be pushing a debt ceiling extension without re-opening the government.  Obama wants both.  I’m not convinced we’ll get there.

Furlough Fun Fact: Furloughed federal workers may seek another job, but they still fall under the ethical restrictions that normally are in place for seeking a second job while employed by the Government.

Movie of the day: Matrix

This whole situation would be a lot better theater with some special effects and bullet-time camera shoots.  For some reason the Matrix movies are on my mind today, so with that I give you the characters from the Matrix movies recast with the major players from both side of the shutdown.  In an attempt at bipartisanship, I will include a Republican and Democrat for all/most characters.

Let’s start with the bad guys:

matrix comparison 2

 

First, the Architect, the father of the Matrix, the one who keeps the system going and alleviates the systemic weakness due to the illusion of choice by inserting the relief valve that is Neo.  For the right, John Boehner is clearly the Architect, the one who has catered to the monsters of the far right and created the untenable situation we are now in.   For the left, Harry Reid refuses to negotiate, Boehner can either pick 17 people and restart Zion or he can destroy everything.  There is no in between.

matrix comparison 3

Now, the Merivingian, the unnecessary mouthpiece of the system who serves no real purpose other than to initiate one of the coolest car chases in film history.  For the right, only Michele Bachmann (of Republicans currently holding office) combines totally, completely crazy with complete and utter pointlessness.  Meanwhile, Sheila Jackson Lee is usually the one spewing crazy for the left, but she’s been remarkably quiet during this climactic standoff.

And finally…

matrix comparison 1

Agent Smith infects the system with himself overwriting every other person and program, infecting the Matrix with his consciousness so he can bring it all crashing down and escape this putrid system. Ted Cruz has roused his followers across the country, taking his brave stand against providing healthcare to the working poor, and he will bring the system to its knees in his bid to overcome the atrocity that is Obamacare.  Meanwhile, President Obama infects the common rabble with his giveaways of Obamaphones, food stamps, and welfare checks and turns the populace into a walking army  of Obamaphiles, unaware that they have been infected by the scourge of evil.

Now for the good guys…

Matrix comparison 5

This crotchety guy, who was more lucky than good, who believed he decided what to do with his ‘boat,’ but who was really not much more than an extra with a speaking part.  Does anyone really believe that Boehner is the one in charge on the right?  Is he really in charge of this careening ship or does that distinction really belong to the person who’s at the steering wheel?  Similarly, Nancy Pelosi has no real power here. The left can fantasize all it wants about moderate conservatives falling in line behind her, but will she actually lead us there?

matrix comparison 4

 

The smooth-talking Morpheus was a believer and could rally others to the cause with his inspiring rhetoric, but in the end he played second fiddle to a false hope that was really just another construct of the system.  Eric Cantor says the right things to the right, but in the end, he’s just a proxy for his current leader. President Obama inspires with his words like no one else, but the hope and change that he pitched have been constrained by a system that he either doesn’t want to change or more likely can’t change.

Matrix comparison 6

Trinity kicks ass and takes names and she will escort our hero until the bitter end, where she will die pointlessly not in a showdown with evil-doers but rather due to some rebar stuck through multiple points on her body.  Paul Ryan is dreamy and his budget proposals will cure the ills of this country, but the underlying tenants of his proposals – reductions in social security and medicare – leave him dead on the doorstep.  Harry Reid throws himself at his tormentors, he takes the abuse of the right, so that the good fight can be fought.  In the end, they will all suffer the same fate.

Which brings us to Neo…

matrix comparison 7

The One.  The only one who can stop the war against the machines  and restore humanity to its rightful place as rulers of this world- or achieve a temporary standdown in hostilities that will likely re-ignite as soon as the movie is over. Ted Cruz can fit fifty gallons in his Texas-sized ten gallon hat and he squashes liberals under the heels of his cowboy boots.  He is the one who will save us from our reckless demise.  For the left, the savior has not yet appeared, but she is out there, lurking.  She alone can stand up to the evils of corporate America and help Washington serve Main street instead of Wall Street; she will be the one.

 

Of course, all this is brought to you by…

matrix comparison 8

 

The Wachowskis, Koch brothers, and George Soros.

If you missed it:

F + 1 Day Furlough Report

F + 2 Days Furlough Report

F + 3 Days Furlough Report

F + 4 Days Furlough Report

FET 155 Hours Furlough Report

FET 203 Hours Furlough Report

Advertisements

FET 203 Hours Furlough Report

Judging by the other furlough beards I saw yesterday, Gillette stock is about to start tumbling.

Judging by the other furlough beards I saw yesterday, Gillette stock is about to start tumbling.

Duration of Furlough: 8 days and counting

Work not done: I was able to work for a few hours yesterday, but in that short time it revealed some issues that are only going to get worse.  We received clarification on the things we can now support as being on-call.  We’re allowed to continue any mission prep activities to support the upcoming cargo missions for Orbital and SpaceX which are on track for later this year or early next year.  We’re also now allowed to support limited crew training for International Space Station crews slated to launch within the next year.  We’ll also continue with our cargo planning for current and future ISS missions.  At this point, the bulk of my team is on-call or on part-time status.  I can follow along for any issues related to these activities and assist if necessary or possible.

What are we not authorized to work on?  Commercial crew program support. We (NASA) have the role of defining requirements for the commercial crew partners, reviewing mission concepts, reviewing proposals, and doing other support work.  Maybe this is being done in other parts of the org, but not in ours.  It’s also not clear to me what work is being done on EFT-1, the first flight of the Orion capsule that is slated for late in 2014.  I don’t have first-hand insight here so I’m not entirely certain of the impacts of the shutdown on this project.

I’ve mentioned before how all of our contractors were forward-funded, which means the government already paid those contractors for services and they can continue work until those funds run out.  Well, as of Friday we’ll have our first contractor run out of funding.  This particular contract handles facility support for our Neutral Buoyancy Lab, where we do EVA training, and our Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, where we do other ISS training.  I have no idea how this will be handled, but we obviously need those facilities for ISS crew training as well as some real-time support.  It’s possible more workers could be furloughed with only minimal staff available to support any mandatory activities.  The impacts of this shutdown will only continue to worsen as time passes.

As for me personally, yesterday I missed my monthly tagup with the lead ISS Flight Director, where I discuss the support my groups provide in mission control and any issues related to that support.  Last month, we discussed some critical items such as whether our PLUTO flight controllers needed to provide more support in mission control for ISS visiting vehicle missions and how much food our ISOs need to keep on ISS, but we also discuss more mundane things like whether our ISOs could have another parking spot in parking lot for Mission Control.

Outlook for Continuing Resolution passage by Congress: No end in sight.

Have I showered today? No and there appear to be no drivers for today.

Chores done: Dishes.

Wife-Requested Tasks: Start painting our master bathroom.  Should be less work than my role as photographer at my wife’s Star Wars Reads event on Monday. So many children. I’m not allowed to post any pictures of the kids without consent from the parents, so I’ve recreated their looks of joy below.

I've learned all my MS Paint skills from philly.com's Jimmy Kempski.

I’ve learned all my MS Paint skills from philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski.

My wife is a librarian at Whitcomb Elementary, a title 1 school with a lot of disadvantaged children.  She doesn’t get much of a budget, so she’s asking for some help here for a small project if you’re so inclined: http://www.donorschoose.org/mhutt

Video games played: I ain’t got time for that.

Mood: I’ll admit that yesterday morning was a bit of a low point, hence the lack of a post as I’m trying not to be too depressing in these updates.  I’m doing better today after being meaningfully engaged for a bit yesterday.

I’m also smiling a bit at the irony of the situation.  Last week, I mentioned how some trolls were glad the 800,000 leeches were off the Federal payroll.  I bristled at that because I understand the truth of the situation.  Except now, I’m going to get paid but I’m not allowed to work.  Hooray, I’m a leech!

Furlough Fun Fact: Furloughed federal employees in many states are eligible for unemployment benefits. Hooray for costing the states more money for work that should be unnecessary!

Movie of the day: Sneakers – We could all use a little subversion today.

If you missed it:

F + 1 Day Furlough Report

F + 2 Days Furlough Report

F + 3 Days Furlough Report

F + 4 Days Furlough Report

FET 155 Hours Furlough Report

F + 4 Days Furlough Report

Another note of explanation for the non-NASA folks: The time stamp in the title stands for Furlough (F) plus ‘x’ days.  At NASA, we put a clock on every important event.  Proximity to launch dates for spacecraft is tracked as L (for Launch) minus ‘x’ months/weeks/days.  If there’s something significant happening counting down toward an event, we put up a clock in mission control to track it.  We track mission elapsed time, time to morning and evening crew conferences, elapsed time on spacewalks, and dozens of other things.  If something can be counted up to or down from, we’re your agency to do that.  So, these reports come out after 24 more hours elapses on the furlough clock.

Yes, I know I’m a dork, but it’s been ingrained in me for 14 years.

furlough beard 4

Furlough beard – now with 100% less neck beard!

UPDATE: We’ll get back pay!  Congress, I dislike you all just a little less right now!

Duration of Furlough: 4 days

Work not done: Friday, October 4th was going to be a day off for me regardless of the shutdown.  With the local school district having an in-service day, our kids were home, my wife had to work, and I was on Dad duty.  Fridays are usually my most lightly scheduled day of the week and I try to turn my attention to what I can do to make improvements to our organization.  Over the past few months, I’ve used this quiet time to revamp our branch meetings to align with the concepts outlined in Death by Meetings, drafted a career progression white paper to follow our directorate “Top Gun” philosophy – the best flight controllers train the next generation of flight controllers – to help our young engineers understand their potential career paths, and pushed to modernize our knowledge capture practices by using blogs and wikis to share project status information and better store all the information our flight controller and instructor teams need to do their jobs.  I try to use Friday time to make us more efficient so that we can spend our time on what we really want to do – flying spaceships and exploring space.  But as I said, I was planning to take the day off anyway, so in the end, I didn’t miss out on much yesterday.

Outlook for Continuing Resolution passage by Congress: Still poor.

I make more forward progress on the stair climber at the gym than Congress is making towards finding a solution.   That this could be over if Boehner allowed a vote on a clean CR is incredibly aggravating.

Have I showered today? Yes!  Date night with the wife.  I’ll even have to clean up the scruff a little.  Don’t panic though!  I’ll just be getting rid of some neck beard so I don’t look like this. Although I have to say my wife is a far greater threat to the existence of furlough beard than my job (or lack thereof).

Chores done/Wife-Requested Tasks: I get a belated birthday pass!

Video games played: Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Exciting news – Kirby’s Return to Dreamland is on its way from Gamefly!  I try to get some games that the girls might enjoy.

Mood: Brief moments of relief surrounded by extended periods of head-shaking.

My status was officially changed on Friday at 5 pm from non-excepted to on-call!  The agency has decided it needs to press ahead with the Increment 38 Flight Readiness Review, so I have to come into work for a couple hours next week to make sure we’ve got our piece of that puzzle pulled together.  I’m not going to get paid for those few hours until the shutdown is over, but still.

Furlough Fun Fact: Federal workers  on furlough cannot take leave (vacation time) to compensate for the furlough.

Once the shutdown is over, even if I wanted to take this past week (or two or three for whenever this ends) to cover the time off, I would not be allowed to.  I have a top employee who went on maternity leave in the beginning of September.  She’s not scheduled to return to work until December.  Federal leave laws say she can take 12 weeks of leave.  With the shutdown, her leave stopped on the day of the shutdown and will pick up after the shutdown ends.  She can’t apply any of her leave to the furlough.  Her husband is also a federal worker and they have another toddler.  This whole situation is terrible for many people.

Song of the day: Never Go Hungry –  Hole

If you asked me in college which bands I would still be buying albums from 20 years later, Hole would not have been on the list.  I recognize Courtney Love essentially has new band mates for every album so it’s not exactly the original group, but it’s a wonder that she’s still alive.

Questions?  I’m  happy to answer furlough or NASA questions. If you’re so inclined, leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them in posts as this drags on.

Next update will be Monday.  I may tweak my approach slightly in order to provide updates Monday through Friday.

If you missed it:

F + 1 Day Furlough Report

F + 2 Days Furlough Report

F + 3 Days Furlough Report

F + 3 Days Furlough Report

I get another gray hair each day of the furlough.

I get another gray hair each day of the furlough.

Duration of Furlough: 3 days

Work not done: Yesterday we were supposed to discuss a proposal for supporting Robonaut next year.  Robonaut is a bit of a different beast from  an operations perspective as it’s not within our traditional area of expertise.  Spacecraft systems, while they’ve become more advanced and intricate, have stayed relatively consistent over the decades.  Every spacecraft regardless of purpose has to have a power system, motion or attitude control system, command and data system, communication system, etc.  If the spacecraft carries people it also has a life support system.  Robonaut doesn’t fit into any of those categories; it also isn’t that similar to the robotic arms used on ISS or Shuttle.  It’s analogous to a Mars Rover in many ways, but it must operate inside the living space of the ISS.  As such, we can’t allow it to inadvertently flip a switch, hit a button, or bonk a nearby crewmember.  Robonaut is not autonomous, so there is no fear of a robot uprising.  Given the constraints we place on it (Robonaut will automatically shut down if it detects it’s exerting a very small amount of force on something), we’re from rebellion for some time.

However, someone needs to send it commands, monitor and troubleshoot the command path if necessary, and make sure failsafes kick in at the right moment.  While our engineering guys design Robonaut’s experiments, the PLUTO flight controllers in my branch are currently responsible for conducting those experiments and commanding the little robot who could. As of a couple months ago, we thought Robonaut would not be funded next year, so we cancelled planned support.  A few weeks ago though, we got a call from the science folks saying they had secured funding.  Robonaut could theoretically add a backpack, with a battery and wireless comm system, and a set of legs which would allow it to be mobile.  So we were supposed to be discussing how we would support this experimental robot going forward.

Also, yesterday was also the day I approve timecards for all the civil servants in my branch so that they can get paid.  We get paid at 2 week intervals.  Our next paychecks are due on October 11th.  We’ll all get a check that covers work from September 23rd – 30th, but we’ll receive nothing for any time after the shutdown. Back pay for those on furlough is not guaranteed.

Outlook for Continuing Resolution passage by Congress: Still poor.

The best hope of seeing this end before the debt ceiling deadline of October 17th is that a small group of Republicans breaks off from the rest of the party and supports a clean resolution.  House leadership most likely won’t allow that.

Have I showered today? Not yet.  Soon, I promise.

Chores done: Cleaned playroom with kids. Can now walk without fear of stepping on a Lego or hair band.

Wife-requested tasks: Take care of all 3 girls for the day (it’s an in-service day for the school district).

Video games played: None, see above.

Mood: Calm, with brief moments of parental anger.

Furlough Fun Fact: It is illegal for a federal worker on furlough to use government issued smartphones or laptops (sorry, can’t find a good link).

My government-provided iPhone 4S, given so that I can be notified immediately in the event of an ISS emergency, an issue with flight controller or instructor support of ISS operations, or any other organizational issue, sits in its charging cradle on my kitchen counter, calling to me.  I try not to listen.  Instead, I am forced to use my personal iPhone 3G, which based on the date stamp in the twitter app, I hadn’t used in 958 days.  I’ve used my government phone for years, because beyond my wife calling me at work, I don’t talk to anyone on the phone (I am a bit of a misanthrope).

So I went to the AT&T store yesterday, asked about the iPhone 5S and settled for a 2-year old iPhone 4S…but it was $.99!

Song of the day: Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Movie of the Day: Mr. Mom

I’m slightly more competent than Michael Keaton.

Answering Furlough Questions:

How did we decide who was essential vs. non-essential?

I admit I was irritated by a twitter troll who was happy that 800,000+ leeches had been removed from the payroll, referring to the federal workers had been furloughed.  I resisted the flame-bait but I thought I’d clarify how we determined who was considered ‘essential’.  For us, it wasn’t about differences in ability; it all came down to who was scheduled to work in mission control or who had an Expedition crew in training.  If a civil servant was already on the console schedule then they were essential; if they weren’t, they were non-essential.  We try to give our flight controllers at least 2 weeks working in the office after one week of console ops in mission control.  This keeps them sharp and operating at a high-level.  As this furlough draws on, some of the folks who were not originally deemed essential will be granted that status. For us in mission ops, essential vs. non-essential was just the luck of the draw.

All management was also deemed non-essential because I don’t work in mission control or train crews.  I used to, and I was fairly good at it, which is why I now run a department of almost 80 people. Am I a leech or just an incompetent do-nothing manager?  Obviously, I can’t answer that question objectively.  You’ll have to make your own conclusion on that one.

I have to go now, before my girls kill each other.

If you missed it:

F + 1 Day Furlough Report

F + 2 Days Furlough Report

F + 2 Days Furlough Report

First, why do this?  Several reasons: 1. I’ve got the time.  2. If I can’t laugh at myself or the absurdity of this situation, then it’ll be a more depressing situation than it actually is.  3. Show what work isn’t getting done because of this impasse.  4. It’s good to have an outlet.

With that out of the way…

Furlough beard 2

Just a few more days before I look like unshaven Justin Timberlake. Or maybe not…

Duration of Furlough: 2 days

Work not done: Yesterday, I would have been given the monthly status of each group’s progress in completing our wildly important goals. The first Wednesday of every month, each group lead for the four groups in my branch reports on the progress we’re making in reaching those goals.  We discuss any potential obstacles, potential solutions, and what progress we expect to make in the next month.  These goals are usually centered around improvements we need to make – our ISE and ISO flight controllers are both working to try and improve the training flow required for certification to work in mission control.  Our Crew On-Orbit Support System software development lab is currently putting together their strategic software development plan for the next 1-2 years.  Our PLUTO flight controllers, responsible for ISS computer networks, is preparing for a major software update to the ISS LANs that’s supposed to be released in early 2014.  Work on these projects will continue to an extent as our contractor teams are forward-funded for the next couple months, but progress on these will be slowed without some key contributors.

In addition, we were also slated to continue discussion on improving proficiency training for all of our certified flight controllers and instructors.  Proficiency training is refresher training for controllers who are already certified.  We’re currently revamping that training to ensure that certified personnel are always ready to ensure the safety of the crew on ISS, ensure the safety of the vehicle, and successfully complete our mission.  We’re comparing plans across our groups to see where we can share resources, ensure we’re being consistent, and ensure we don’t miss anything.  Most of this work is just not getting done.

Outlook for Continuing Resolution passage by Congress: Still poor.

Yesterday showed little if any signs of progress.  There’s talk of a grand bargain in the works, but I’m skeptical that Democrats will agree to anything that further reduces spending.  More on that in the liberal thoughts section below; I’ll spare my conservative friends from me getting into that here.

Have I showered today? Yes!  Rationale below.

Chores done: None. Dishes pending.

Wife-requested tasks: Take youngest daughter to preschool since my wife had to be in to work early (hence the shower to not scare off the preschool teachers). Submit forms for Texas Unclaimed Property (Done! $200 comin’ my way). Write something (I’m not sure this counts).

Video games played: Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Simpson: Tapped Out

I’ve never been much for fighter games as I mostly just mash buttons. I’m also not up to speed on my comic superheroes – my knowledge stops at the core characters – but it’s satisfying to pound away in this game.

Mood: Resigned.

This is going to take a while.  It’s hard to tell how much urgency both sides have in this discussion.  The last time this occurred the shutdown lasted 21 days. Comments saying that the shutdown was wanted make me incredibly unsympathetic to your view.

Furlough Fun Fact: It is illegal for a federal worker on furlough to check his or her work email.

Movie of the day: Deep Impact

God, this movie is depressing.  But fairly realistic!

*** Warning: Liberal Views Ahead***

If you think a liberal is inherently a bad person, you’ve probably already stopped reading or never ventured here in the first place.  If you can consider that 2 people can look at a problem and come up with 2 different solutions and not think they’re terrible people because of those views, then you may be open-minded enough to read on.

I thought I’d spend a few minutes answering a question from an old friend:

When did I become such a Democrat?

First, I’m not a registered Democrat.  I’m still an independent because I don’t have a lot of trust in the career politicians on either side.  I will admit to being very liberal.  Did I used to be more moderate?  In some ways, but over the last 6 years, my worldview has definitely shifted more to the left; though I also wonder how much the right shifted away from me.

So what’s important to me?  The following is in rough priority order.

Environmentalism

This isn’t about save the Earth, because the Earth existed just fine millions of years before we came along and will continue to be here long after we’re gone.  I do believe though that we need to protect our environment as much as possible.  Pollution, be it air, water, light, or other, destroys our environment and the environment of the plants and animals we share the planet with.  We require biodiversity among those other planets and animals in order to survive.  Lack of biodiversity puts humanity’s food chain at risk.  Extinction of species, like say the honey bee, could also be devastating to our food supply. We release more pollution every day in many different ways.  In my view we need to curb that as much as possible.

I haven’t even touched on global climate change which climate scientists are now 95% certain is caused by humans.  I believe the science, but I’ll admit there’s a small chance it could be wrong.  I look at it this way – What if climate scientists are wrong?  We may waste money on renewable energy sources, jobs may disappear from coal and oil industries, but then we would have an energy supply not dependent on foreign assets and jobs would likely spring up in other areas.  Now, what if climate scientists are right and we don’t do anything?  Well, the potential consequences are fairly dire.  I’d rather make changes and have them not be needed, then not make changes and have the situation get worse.  Good businessman will find other ways to make money.

Women’s Issues

I have 3 girls.  I want them to have the same opportunities and same rewards as anyone else – man or woman.  I support fair pay laws and equal opportunity laws that will allow them to get opportunities in male-dominated industries.  I also support anti-discrimination laws that protect the from any institutional sexism.  Don’t think that exists anymore?  Talk to women in the video game industry or IT industry.

I also don’t want any of them to get pregnant before they are emotionally, financially, and physically ready for it.  However, I’m not naive enough to believe they will abstain from sex before they get married in their mid-to-late twenties or later.  They need to be educated on how to protect themselves and what contraception they should use to avoid unplanned pregnancies.  And God forbid they ever get raped and get pregnant from that, but if one of them ever were, I would want them to make whatever decision they feel is necessary for that pregnancy and for them to have the right medical care when making that decision.  I would want the same if that pregnancy threatened their well-being.

Science

I’ve already talked about climate change. I would also site the controversy over teaching creationism as science as something that drives me to the left.  The Theory of Evolution is not just some supposition; it’s well-supported by scientific evidence.  That’s the definition of a scientific theory. As long as the religious right pushes to teach creationism as science, as they’re currently doing with Texas science textbooks, I will vehemently oppose those efforts.

Economic Recovery

I fully admit this is not an area where I have a thorough understanding of the principles of the system.  I’ve learned a lot from reading sites like baselinescenario.com.  I don’t believe that focusing on the deficit and cutting government funding is what this country needs right now.  Fiscal conservatism has its place and time, but I don’t believe that time is now.  My view is that the government needs to spend more on infrastructure, science and medical research, and education in order to improve the foundations of the country, better prepare Americans to succeed in the real-world and create more jobs.

The lack of jobs is the most important issue that I believe our government should be addressing.  When taxes are low, the rich save more money rather than spend more.  Building and improving infrastructure creates jobs, research and development of new technologies creates jobs and a better education allows people to get better jobs.  Employers will continue to seek ways to lower their costs through automating tasks or finding cheaper labor.  This will continue to move manufacturing jobs out of the country and eliminate other jobs.  We either need to find other ways for people to work or change the expectation that everyone has to have a job.

I’m going to stop here.  I could also discuss pushing religion on government, gun control, military spending, government lobbying and several other issues, but I’ve probably either agitated or bored you enough already.  None of this is to say I love the current Democratic leadership – Obama seems to not really value NASA, both sides are too beholden to corporate interests – but in the current environment, I do support more of what they’re after.  In the past, pragmatic environmentalism, prudent government spending, trusting science, and equal treatment for people would not have made me a liberal.  Today, it does.

If you missed it:

F + 1 Day Furlough Report

F+1 Day Furlough Report

Debut of Furlough Beard!

Debut of Furlough Beard!

Duration of Furlough: 1 day

Work not done: Yesterday was supposed to be the Operations Division review of inputs to the Increment 38 Flight Readiness Review.  This review is in preparation for the Directorate and Agency-level Flight Readiness Reviews.  Each technical discipline in the division reports on their readiness to support Increment 38.  We review things like the certification status of everyone supporting the mission, readiness of ground facilities, and readiness to support all planned activities during this increment.  All of this is done to ensure the safety of the mission.  Assuming a short furlough, this will be rescheduled for the near future.

We were also supposed to preview a new photo storage utility that helps the ISS astronauts store photos taken on ISS in the correct folders for downlink.  This will help both the crew and ops team with some  minor hassle as this is relatively unimportant information for the crew but they  need it all the time with the volume of pictures taken.

Secondary impacts: Cancelled the after school babysitter since I was home.  Didn’t go to a lunch with my group leads as planned.

Outlook for Continuing Resolution passage by Congress: Poor

An article on CNN yesterday (which I can’t currently find to link to), stated  that the Republicans would use the shutdown as leverage to get what they want during the upcoming debt ceiling fight.  The problem? We’re not expected to reach the debt ceiling until October 17th.  That’s a long time from now and would mean I miss out on at least half a paycheck.

Have I showered today? Soon.

Chores done: Dishes. Vacuumed laundry room.

Wife-requested tasks: Go to Post Office and drop off a package (I get off easy today!).  Do something productive.

Video games played: Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Simpson: Tapped Out (Hooray for the Halloween update!)

Mood: Aggravated.

This whole situation is absurd.  I love how Congress gets paid while it’s there fault that there is not a budget and I am out of work.

Yesterday, Rep. John Culberson of Texas said this about the effort to continue to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“The whole room [shouted] ‘Let’s vote!’ And I said, you know like 9/11, ‘Let’s roll!'” Culberson said.

Rep. Culberson what you’re doing is not in any way heroic and is in no way like what the brave folks on Flight 93 did when they took a plane back from terrorists and crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania.  In my opinion, the extremism you’re displaying in this fight against ACA is closer to the actions of the bad guys in that scenario than it is to the heroes. The goals of the ACA – fewer uninsured Americans, control health care costs –  are admirable even if the solution is imperfect and needs improvement.  I’d be more inclined to be sympathetic to the Republican view if they offered any viable solutions or alternatives.  And since the Heritage Foundation,a conservative think tank, drew up the foundation of the ACA, it really makes no sense that conservatives don’t support it.  The only response so far, though, is to stomp your feet and refuse to play even though the ACA is law and the Supreme Court upheld it.

Furlough Fun Fact: It is illegal for federal workers to volunteer to work during a furlough.

Song of the day: Sometime Around Midnight – The Airborne Toxic Event