On Thursday, a United Nations interpreter expressed on a “hot mic” the thoughts of many UN observers: that the incessant emphasis on condemning Israel – for crimes real or alleged – is uncalled for and excessive.
In the video, a Spanish-English translator appears to stop her simultaneous translation to note the oddity to a colleague.
“I mean, I think when you have five statements, not five, like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? [It's a bit much, no?] I mean I know… There’s other really bad stuff happening [around the world], but no one says anything, about the other stuff,” she said.
A few seconds into her rant the interpreter realized that her remarks were heard by the diplomats in attendance, some of whom couldn’t help but laugh at the mishap.
“The interpreter apologizes,” the interpreter said, after realizing her mistake.
A Geneva-based organization, UN Watch, caught the mishap and posted it on social media sites, as did Israel’s UN mission. Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been cited as being delighted at the video, which has gone viral.
As UN Watch notes, the international governing body will have released over 22 condemnations of Israel by the end of the next assembly, and only four on the rest of the world combined – including any possible resolutions regarding the Syrian Civil War, a nuclear Iran, and other conflicts which have the potential to metastasize out of the Middle East.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the mishap on Sunday at a cabinet meeting. “I hope nothing happens to the translator as a result, but I can assure her of a job here in the State of Israel, should it come to that,” he stated.
“Sometimes someone can rip away at the veil of hypocrisy that exists in the ever-present attacks against us, and this interpreter had the courage to do just that.”
Quoted from a news service!
AS USUAL ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES THE IDF IS SENDING A LARGE MEDICAL AND HUMANITARIAN AID TEAM TO THE TYPHOON STRUCK PHILIPPINES LEYTE AREA!11/12/2013
IDF Humanitarian Delegation to the Philippines to Leave Tomorrow
by Israel Defense Forces
A 148 member delegation is set to leave for the Philippines tomorrow, Wednesday, November 13, 2013, in order to provide search, rescue, and medical services in the Typhoon-struck city of Tacloban, capital of the Leyte Province.
An advanced multi-department medical facility, equipped with approximately 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel, will be rapidly established in the city of Tacloban to provide medical care for disaster casualties. The facility will be constructed of a children’s department, a women’s department, an ambulatory care department, and a general admission department, operated by IDF doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, mental health professionals, x-ray technician, and lab workers.
The delegation comprises of officials in the National Search and Rescue Unit of the Home Front Command headed by the unit commander, Colonel Ramtin Sabti, as well as senior doctors in the IDF Medical Corps, headed by the Vice Surgeon General of the IDF Medical Corps, Colonel Doctor Dudu Dagan.
Yesterday, Monday, November 11, 2013, a lead expedition of five search, rescue, and medical experts arrived in Tacloban and formed a situation assessment determining the urgency for a rapid IDF response. Based on this assessment the of the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, order to deploy a large-scale delegation to the disaster zone.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman: “The Home Front Command has soldiers and officers who excel in the fields of search and rescue and highly professional medical doctors experienced in such complex missions. Over the years they have been to Japan, Haiti, Ghana, Bulgaria, and Turkey, where they diligently donated from their resources and knowledge to those in need.”
The IDF National Search and Rescue Unit, founded in 1983, is a highly skilled force trained to execute special search and rescue missions, both in Israel and abroad. The unit consists primarily of reservists who are always on call, with prepared kits to enable immediate departure, and a small core of soldiers in mandatory service. In addition to the rescue teams, the unit employs doctors, engineers, mechanical engineering equipment operators and rescue dog handlers.
Past IDF operations in calamity-struck regions include the delegation to Haiti in January 2010 which included a search and rescue team, a maternity ward, intensive care units, pediatrics, surgeons, and pharmaceutical supplies. In April 2011, an IDF delegation traveled to Japan following a devastating earthquake treating 220 casualties. In January of 2006, 80 soldiers and officers flew to Nairobi, Kenya, following a building collapse, rescuing two people trapped under ruins and recovering seven lost bodies. Additional missions took place in Turkey in 1999 following where IDF rescued 12 survivors and recovered 140 bodies, as well as in Kenya in 1998 where soldiers rescued three people and recovered 95 bodies.
Israel Defense Forces | November 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p2pPYR-88a
The nuclear talks with Iran, which are set to resume in Geneva on November 7, 2013, have turned into talks on two separate yet parallel tracks. One track is Iran’s talks with the 5+1 group, while the main thrust of the other, which bypasses the 5+1, is direct U.S.-Iran talks under the auspices of the 5+1 talks. This bilateral track may also include secret contacts. But the official contacts are under the auspices of the 5+1 talks because Iran will not agree to official direct contact without maximal incentive to do so.
Why Are Iran And The U.S. Bypassing The 5+1 Countries?
Iran and the U.S. are bypassing the 5+1 because they are both interested in doing so. First, the U.S. is interested because the Obama administration is alone in its flexible stance vis-à-vis Iran, and it is trying to reach understandings with it directly; it will then present these understandings to the 5+1 forum in an attempt to force it to accept them and thus turn them into a matter of international consensus. It was reported only recently that as part of the E.U.’s new approach in reinforcing its Iran sanctions regime, it is planning to revoke exemptions granted in recent months to several companies. This runs counter to the American administration’s efforts to prevent Congress from imposing additional sanctions.
Attempting to conceal the gaps between its position and Europe’s, the U.S. is demanding that the 5+1-Iran track be conducted in secret. In contrast, the Iranians are demanding that the 5+1 talks be open and transparent, so that they are not accused at home of selling out the country’s nuclear interest.
It should be emphasized that the Obama administration is considering unfreezing tens of billions of dollars’ worth of Iranian assets, a move that would likely be accompanied by an Iranian announcement that it is reducing the level to which it is enriching uranium. By doing this, the Obama administration would be circumventing both Congressional sanctions and the 5+1′s consensus that sanctions on Iran not be lifted unless Iran takes a very significant preliminary measure.
Iran is interested in direct talks with the U.S. because the consensus in the 5+1 – that is, the international community’s position – remains unchanged: fundamental opposition to Iran’s becoming a nuclear state; fundamental rejection of its demand to enrich uranium to any level on its soil and a demand that it cease and desist from doing so immediately in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions; harsh criticism of Iran’s refusal to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and of its continued lack of transparency towards it and towards the international community; and harboring suspicions that it is conducting military nuclear activity.
In contrast to the 5+1′s position, the U.S. has in recent months been hinting that it would be willing to recognize an Iran that is nuclear for civilian purposes and under strict oversight, and that it would consider Iran’s cessation of enriching uranium to 20% as a positive move. (It should be noted that in light of the American administration’s efforts at rapprochement with Tehran, and its hints that it may recognize Iran’s right to low-level uranium enrichment, Russia too has been attempting to strengthen its ties with Iran with a proposal of concessions that offers no less than the Americans are offering.)
Each Side’s Aim In Bypassing The 5+1 Talks
Iran needs to talk directly with the U.S.in order to achieve its goal – recognition as a nuclear state, a status which follows from recognition of its right to enrich uranium on its soil. The U.S. is bypassing the 5+1 and talking directly with Iran in order to achieve its own goal – it seeks an historic reconciliation with Iran, or at the very least direct talks on a permanent basis. It should be emphasized that the American administration’s goal, as indicated by its conduct in the negotiations, is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state, but to limit its status as a nuclear power to the civilian domain, under strict international supervision, in order to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
At present, it is unclear whether the U.S. administration is dangling the option of recognizing Iran’s right to enrich uranium at low levels as bait and will ultimately oppose it – or whether it is actually willing to allow it. A decision by the Obama administration to pay for the longed-for historic reconciliation by recognizing a nuclear Iran that has no bomb – at least, not yet – will have far-reaching regional and international implications.
The Implications Of Possible U.S. Recognition Of A Nuclear Iran Entitled To Low-Level Uranium Enrichment
On the international level, U.S. recognition of a nuclear Iran that includes the latter’s right to enrich uranium to low levels on its soil could destabilize the global nuclear order that has been more or less maintained for decades by all countries, with the exception of a few that are not signatory to the NPT. If the U.S. makes such a move, many other countries would move to pursue their own independent nuclear ambitions.
On the regional level:
The nuclearization of the Middle East, and the possibility of a nuclear arms race: The American administration’s recognition of a nuclear Iran would necessarily lead to a nuclearization of the leading Sunni and other countries in the Middle East that have no faith in an American nuclear umbrella against Iran (see MEMRI reports on Egypt and Saudi Arabia on this topic).
The strengthening of the resistance axis – Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah – under Iran’s leadership: This will come at the expense of former U.S. allies – the axis of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states. U.S. recognition of a nuclear Iran would significantly reinforce the Shi’ite foci in the Middle East that fight Sunnis, for example Lebanon (Hizbullah), Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain.
* A. Savyon is Director of the Iranian Media Project; Y. Carmon is President of MEMRI.
ISRAEL AND THE USA – ISRAELI PRESENCE IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN AND ITS TECHNOLOGICAL PROWESS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE AMERICAN FOREIGN AND DEFENSE POLICY!10/24/2013
COMPOSED BY Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, Israel, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
The Two-Way US-Israel Street
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
Israel Hayom”, October 11, 2013, http://bit.ly/166LQOu
In 1948, US-Israel relations were a classic case of a one-way-street: the US gave and Israel received, economically and militarily.
In 1952, the US Administration rejected a proposal by General Omar Bradley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, to elevate Israel to a role of a major ally, just like Iran and Turkey.
In 2013, notwithstanding President Rouhani’s rhetoric, Iran is the fiercest enemy of the US. Erdogan’s Turkey follows a Muslim Brotherhood, rather than a NATO-oriented policy. Egypt is increasingly unstable, unpredictable and anti-US country. And, the long-term stability, reliability and capabilities ofSaudi Arabia – as an ally of the US – have been severely eroded by the ongoing Arab Tsunami.
In 2013, the combusting Arab Street highlights Israel as the only stable, reliable, predictable, capable, democratic and unconditional Middle Eastern ally of the US.
In 2013, Israel is the only ally of the US, which is able and willing to extend the shortened strategic hand of the US, while the threats to the US are mounting and Russian and Chinese penetration of the Middle East is intensifying.
In 2013, US-Israel relations constitute a classic case of a two-way-street, win-win, mutually- beneficial ties, with Israel increasingly contributing to vital US economic and defense interests; expanding US employment, research & development and export base; serving as the most battle-tested laboratory of US defense industries; enhancing US countering-terrorism and intelligence gathering capabilities; and upgrading US battle tactic and homeland security.
For example, some 300 US high tech giants operate in Israel – a pipeline of commercial, defense and homeland security technologies to the US – leveraging Israel’s brain power and enhancing their global competitiveness. Fifty five percent of Hewlett Packard’s recent software developments originated in its seven R & D centers in Israel. In August, 2013, IBM acquired its 13th Israeli company and its R&D centers in Israel registered 463 patents during 2006-2010, followed by SandDisk – 394, Intel – 321, Microsoft, HP, Apple, GE, etc.. Most of Intel’s laptop microprocessors, and many of Google’s applications, originated in Israel. Marvell’s largest design center outside the US is in Israel.
Israel serves as the most battle-tested laboratory for the US defense industry, employing hundreds of US military systems (e.g., F-16, F-15) sharing with US manufacturers lessons learned during battle, facilitating thousands of modifications and upgrades, thus dramatically enhancing the US global competitive edge, expanding US R&D, employment and exports, yielding a mega-billion dollar bonanza to the US defense industry, while advancing the national security of Israel and the US.
Israel’s battle tactics against Palestinian terrorism are at the core of counter-terrorism training at Ft. Leavenworth, the intellectual center of the US Army. US Marines and Special Operations units are trained in Israel on their way to Afghanistan. They benefit from Israel’s unique experience in urban warfare and in tackling suicide bombers, car bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). US bomb squads travel to Israel, improving their explosives neutralizing capabilities. The US and Israeli air forces hold annual joint exercises, aimed at enhancing cooperation and leveraging Israel’s intense battle experience. After the 1967 War, the US sent 15 senior military personnel to study Israeli lessons from the war and to implement them in the US military. After the 1973 War, the US sent 50 top commanders, who produced five volumes of lessons which were implemented by the US military.
Israel has been a strategic beachhead of the US as demonstrated by the 1967 War, which intercepted Egypt’s attempt to topple the House of Saud. In1970, Israel mobilized its regulars and reservists, which forced pro-Soviet Syria to roll back its invasion of pro-US Jordan without firing a single shot. In1981, Israel pre-empted and devastated Iraq’s nuclear reactor, thus eliminating a clear and present lethal threat to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other pro-American Arab regimes. In September, 2007, Israel destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor, sparing the Free World a much more dangerous civil war in Syria. In 2012-13 Israel bombed advanced military systems in Syria, thus preventing their use by Assad, Hizballah, the Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda.
The scope of military intelligence transferred by Israel to the US exceeds that which is transferred by all NATO countries combined. Israeli intelligence, shared with the US, plays a key role in US counter-terrorism efforts in general, and the campaign against Iran’s nuclearization, in particular.
According to the late General Alexander Haig, who was Supreme Commander of NATO and US Secretary of State: “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US aircraft or boot on board; cannot be sunk; and is deployed in a vital area for critical US commercial and military interests. If there were not a Jewish state in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, then the US would have to deploy additional aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of US soldiers to the Mediterranean. It would have cost the American taxpayers some $15BN annually, which is spared by a viable Jewish state.”
Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, Israel, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
Irving Kushner MD
Views of American Jews and American Christians toward Israel
40% of American Jews believe the land that is now Israel was given to the Jewish people by God. 55% of American Christians believe this – far more than even most Jews – including 64% of Protestant Christians. The groups least likely to believe this are secular Jews (16%), reform Jews (35%) and Catholics (38%).
61% of American Jews agree that “there a way for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully. Compare this to 50% of the American public. The biggest supporters of a two-state solution are secular Jews (72%), Conservative Jews (62%) and Reform Jews (58%). The biggest skeptics are Orthodox Jews (30%) and white Evangelical Christian (42%). Note the similarities between this number and the groups who believe Israel was given to the Jews by God.
Only 21% of secular Jews agree that the “Israel government is making a sincere effort to bring about a peace settlement” with the Palestinians. That’s a staggeringly low number. 61% of Orthodox Jews believe this, including 73% of Modern Orthodox. The only other religious group for which over half believe this is Conservative Jews, at 52%. (Data for Christians is not available on this question.) Among all Jews, 38% say they believe the Israel government is making a sincere effort.
The Palestinian leadership scored far worse among all group. Among all American Jews, only 12% believe it’s making a sincere effort toward peace. That’s highest among Conservative Jews (14%) and lowest among Ultra-Orthodox (6%).
30% of American Jews answered “very attached” when asked the level of their “emotional attachment to Israel.” 39% said “somewhat attached” and 22% said “not very attached,” with only 9% citing no attachment. Still, that means 69% feel some meaningful level of attachment to Israel. More than half of every group answered either “very” or “somewhat” attached – except for secular Jews, who selected “very” and “somewhat” by 12% and 33%, respectively. This group makes up 22% of American Jews. Orthodox Jews feel the strongest attachment, with 61% saying they feel very attached and 30% somewhat attached.
44% of American Jews say the ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank “hurts Israel’s security.” 17% say it helps; 29% say it makes no difference. Only 16% of Orthodox Jews say the settlements hurt Israeli security. 34% say they help (including 38% among Modern Orthodox) and 39% say it does not make a difference. Reform and secular Jews are most likely to say that settlements hurt Israeli security, at 50% and 55%, respectively. Conservative Jews say three-to-two that settlements hurt rather than help Israeli security (36% and 23%, respectively), making them the group closest to split.
54% of American Jews say that the level of U.S. support for Israel is “about right.” 11% say the U.S. is too supportive and 31% that it’s not supportive enough. The general American public is more likely to skew toward wanting less support for Israel. 22% say their country is too supportive of Israel; 25% want to see more U.S. support for Israel. 41% say it’s about right. Only Orthodox Jews are more likely than not to say that U.S. support for Israel is insufficient. 53% say the U.S. is not supportive enough of Israel. They are most closely followed by white Evangelical Christians, with 46% saying this. The group most likely to believe that the U.S. is too supportive of Israel: Americans who are not religiously affiliated, 35% of whom say this. Among Jews, it’s secular Jews, at 27% (50% of this group sees support levels as “about right”).
60% of Jews say they approve of Obama’s policy toward Israel. This is highest among Jews over 65 (at 66%) and Reform Jews (65%). Conservative Jews are also supportive (60%), with secular Jews a touch less so (54%). Support is lowest among Christian groups; 38% of American Christians support Obama’s Israel policy, including just 26% of white Evangelical Christians. The most critical Jewish group is Orthodox Jews, 36% of whom approve of Obama’s approach to Israel.
You guys (the GOP economic geniuses) destroyed the balanced budget by going into two major wars and giving all kinds of tax breaks and tax holidays and allowed the two big fail to benefit from an economic disaster while letting one big trading house to fail precipitating a worse crisis than needed to be.
And now you have the temerity, CHUZPAH TO SAY that we are going to face an oncoming crisis that has been precipitated ten years ago and you have been blocking every corrective measure!
You and your likes are the worst kind of hypocrites and obstructionists, public enemy number two, number one are the Koch Brothers and their bought SCOTUS.
Political money was again before the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning, and, judging from their questions, the conservative justices are poised to make things even worse. Now they are prepared to expand on their 2010 decision that caused an explosion of independent spending by allowing the wealthy to give about $3.5 million apiece to candidates and parties in each election cycle. Their rationale: They’ve already allowed the system to become so flooded with money that more won’t hurt.
“It’s not that we’re stopping people from spending big money on politics,” Justice Antonin Scalia argued. “When you add all that up, I don’t think $3.5 million is a heck of a lot of money.”
Actually, Nino, $3.5 million is a lot of money. As Solicitor General Donald Verrilli tried to point out, that means a party can get everything it needs to run all congressional races around the country from just 450 people. “Less than 500 people can fund the whole shooting match,” Verrilli said, adding: “There is a very real risk both that the government will be run of, by and for those 500 people and that the public will perceive that the government is being run of, by and for those 500 people.”
Scalia wasn’t impressed. He said it is “fanciful to think that the sense of gratitude” lawmakers feel toward their big donors “is any greater than the sense of gratitude that that senator or congressman will feel to a PAC, which is spending an enormous amount of money in his district or in his state for his election.”
It was as if Scalia, having left the stable door open, noticed that a horse had bolted — and decided the best solution would be to set the rest of the animals free.
Verrilli suggested, politely, that the court may have been wrong in dismissing “the risks of corruption from independent expenditures,” too.
“It is what it is,” Scalia said blithely.
Yes, it is. The 1976 decision in Buckley v. Valeo made government for sale and created the arms race in campaign financing by equating unlimited spending with free speech. The John Roberts court in 2010 made the system dramatically worse in its Citizens United decision, loosening restrictions and spurring wealthy donors to make hundreds of millions of dollars in independent expenditures. Now the court proposes to sell what remains of the government to about 500 people — the Koch brothers and their ilk, who have already filled the halls of Congress with tea party representatives, and liberal billionaires who will no doubt seek to make similar purchases.
Scalia may not be aware of this, because he does not read The Post or the New York Times, which he says are “so shrilly, shrilly liberal” and “often nasty.” In an interview with New York magazine published this week, he said he reads the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times and listens to conservative talk-radio hosts such as Bill Bennett.
If Scalia got out of his ideological echo chamber, he would discover that, encouraged by the court, wealthy conservatives donate to groups such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, which threaten to fund primary challenges to Republican lawmakers who show any ideological impurity. Because most Republicans are in safe seats (in part because of Supreme Court-sanctioned gerrymandering), the only threat to their reelection is in a primary — and so they have no choice but to obey the conservative billionaires’ wishes. The problem on the left isn’t as acute, but it’s only a matter of time before liberal billionaires execute a similar purge.
And yet Bobby Burchfield, a lawyer arguing against the spending limits on Tuesday, told the justices the rich suffer “a severe restriction on political speech.”
The poor dears.
Justice Elena Kagan said those who give $3.5 million should expect “special treatment” from Congress — and Burchfield didn’t disagree. Under the Citizens United decision, he said, “gratitude and influence are not considered to be quid-pro-quo corruption.”
He’s right. A few billionaires have purchased a Congress full of unbending extremists, and the Supreme Court made it all legal.
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The Government Shutdown Trickle-Down: common Effects Of The Budget Standstill
Updated: 10/08/2013 11:01 am EDT
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WASHINGTON — Oct. 1 was not Natalia Otero’s best day on the job.
As executive director of DC Safe, a nonprofit that provides emergency services and shelter to victims of domestic violence in Washington, her organization may not seem like a potential victim of a federal government shutdown. But at the turn of the month, with Congress deadlocked, $250,000 in federal and local grants for DC Safe were effectively frozen.
That quarter of a million dollars would have paid cab fare for battered women to travel from a hospital emergency room to a shelter. It would have paid for food to families who left an abusive home. It would have paid for hotel stays when the shelters were full. It would have paid for women to get the locks changed on their doors.
Last weekend alone, DC Safe housed 19 women and 28 children, and fielded 38 calls from police officers at scenes of domestic violence. But the loss of the grants may change all that. The money would have amounted to about three months of the group’s budget.
“It’s creating undue stress and uncertainty,” Otero said of the sudden loss of funds. “We’ve asked people to sponsor families.”
The dependable system that Otero has built over the years is crumbling. She told The Huffington Post she may have to turn away clients. She said she can staff the nonprofit’s hotline until Oct. 15, but then she will have to start thinking about operating with a smaller crew.
“We are in limbo, right,” Otero said. “With our private funders, we can probably maintain until the 15th.”
A week after Congress failed to agree to fund the operation of the government, the impacts of the shutdown are starting to trickle down. No longer is the story being told in numbers (workers furloughed, budgets cuts, jobs at risk). Increasingly, it’s being told with people’s angst, frustration and weariness.
Businesses are seeing fewer customers. Research institutions are cutting back. Court cases are being delayed. Assistance for low-income families has stopped. Entire industries have been placed on pause.
In many cases, there is real pain. As one Huffington Post reader emailed:
“I’m a federal employee working in an agency affected by the shutdown. I am an attorney and single mother of two children. I have been employed with the government since 2005. I’ve been able to make a comfortable life for myself and my children working as an attorney for the federal government; however, living without my income is not an option. I have to feed my children, pay a mortgage, car payments, taxes, and utility bills in order to keep us together. What if I’m unable to make my mortgage or car payments? What if I cannot afford to feed my children? I am most concerned about them and about my health. I have several chronic illnesses that require medication; what if I cannot afford my medications?”
In other cases, the effects have been more emotional than financial.
“We are still expected to report to work and fulfill our duties putting our lives on the line, leaving our loved ones daily at all hours for free it seems,” one U.S. Border Patrol agent told The Huffington Post. “Morale at my station is at an all time low and it seems that no one in DC could care less.”
Sometimes, the shutdown is forcing the government to gamble on luck. Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, told The Huffington Post he worries emergency preparations are being shortchanged. He pointed to preparations for the storm that had been anticipated to become Hurricane Karen, now a degenerated tropical depression.
“When a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching land, we would request extra upper-air balloon launches. We do them twice a day and typically they would ask for them four times a day, which gives you better information and a sampling of the atmosphere,” Sobien explained. “In the case of Karen, that didn’t happen. When we asked for the additional balloon launches, the hurricane centers said we didn’t need them. … My guess is there was some sort of budgetary reason that they were not admitting too.”
Karen weakened over the weekend in the Gulf of Mexico without making landfall. But better information could have been useful.
“The initial forecast had a Category 1 hurricane hitting somewhere near Mobile, Ala.” said Sobien. “What actually happened was the storm dissipated in the middle of the Gulf and what was left of it hit my house in Sarasota, Fla. It was off by a lot. It was not an unreasonable amount. But I would have thought the extra data might have been helpful. Certainly a lot of people along the northern Gulf Coast took precautions that they might not have had to take, and perhaps hotel reservations were canceled and people got worried when they didn’t have to.”
The deployment of fewer weather balloons to monitor Karen is one of many consequences of the shutdown now being felt across the country. Below are a ‘few’ others that The Huffington Post found in a survey of local newspapers.
Border patrol training has been suspended in New Mexico. (LINK)
Businesses can’t get their government-backed Small Business Administration loans. (LINK)
Congress’ failure to consider a farm bill because of the shutdown is hurting dairy farmers. (LINK and LINK)
Sugar daddy websites, focusing on relationships that feature older men who prey on women, are witnessing a spike in activity, which website operators attribute to women losing government benefits. (LINK)
Real estate agents are seeing less business. (LINK)
Veterans, will not receive federal tuition assistance. (LINK)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facilities — in states that include Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin — are closed to the public. (LINK)
Timber contracts for have been suspended and sales are slowing. Affecting employment (LINK and LINK)
Towns dependent on seasonal tourism has become “ghost towns.” (LINK)
A museum exhibit delivery to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has been delayed. (LINK)
Private tour companies near Yellowstone National Park have lost most customers. (LINK)
An annual roundup of wild ponies on the Eastern Shore of Virginia has been canceled affecting losses to local farmers. (LINK)
Private hotels on government property are struggling with the shutdown and the absence of customers. (LINK and LINK)
The director of a project to study stink bugs was furloughed, just as the pests are beginning to find winter hiding places inside homes. (LINK)
Arizona stopped payments to 5,200 families eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. (LINK)
Private businesses at Grand Canyon are suffering. (LINK and LINK)
A legal challenge to Texas’ voter ID law has been delayed at the request of the Department of Justice. (LINK)
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are growing frightened. “The blind spots are getting bigger every day as this goes on,” said CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds in Atlanta. (LINK)
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission court cases have been delayed in Maine. (LINK)
The citrus forecast, which influences price negotiations between Florida growers and juice processors, was cancelled. (LINK)
NASA websites have been pulled down. (LINK)
King crab fishing boats have to stay docked without government approval of permits and quotas, costing Alaska fisherman potentially “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” (LINK)
Everglades restoration project funding has been jeopardized. (LINK))
Some Native Americans are not receiving scholarships. (LINK)
Other Native American communities are seeing nutrition programs, foster care payments, financial assistance for the poor and anti-elder-abuse programs cut. (LINK)
Oregon State University is losing $600,000 a day in federal research money. (LINK)
Dog park volunteers are being forced to stay at home in Oregon. (LINK)
Medicare program audit has been delayed. (LINK)
Farm and livestock producers are lacking basic information to make business decisions. (LINK)
Two New Hampshire families were stuck in Arizona after a 20-day rafting trip on the Colorado River had to be suspended. (LINK)
Lockheed Martin announced it was furloughing 3,000 workers in Colorado. (LINK)
The Maverick Mountain Bike Championship canceled two of its three races in Colorado. (LINK)
The absence of a farm bill has hit cotton farming in Georgia. (LINK)
Nursery plants in Virginia may die waiting to be given to defense installations. (LINK)
Federal investigators can’t inspect a fatal Metro accident in Washington, D.C. (LINK)
The Department of Justice is seeking a delay in a National Security Agency case. (LINK)
Washington, D.C.’s, food trucks have lost a tremendous amount of business. (LINK)
United Technologies Corp. says it may furlough more than 5,000 workers in Nevada. (LINK)
Sea turtle monitoring in Florida has been hampered. (LINK)
Children in Tennessee couldn’t ride the bus to school. “Since the Great Smoky Mountains are closed, along with a number of roads overseen by rangers, a some parents had to find another way to get their children to class. During the government shutdown, Bus #49 could not make its route.” (LINK)
Habitat for Humanity has been dealt a funding cut. (LINK)
A free health care clinic in Alabama can’t take on new patients. “Our hands are tied because we can’t help those patients unless we get that,” said Cullman’s Good Samaritan Clinic Executive Director Kelly Lindsey. “We also work with pharmaceutical companies to get people free medicine, but they won’t do that unless we have that paperwork. It’s impacting us quite a bit now.” (LINK)
A boy was denied blood test . (LINK)
Unemployment claims skyrocketed 500 percent in Utah. (LINK)
Build America Bond rebates were not being paid. (LINK)
A death penalty appeal in North Dakota was delayed. (LINK)
Pig virus monitoring was stopped. (LINK)
The Antarctica scientific mission is in limbo and personnel may be stranded!