Political And Economic Considerations

There will be a set of "further reading" citations at the end of this post. I urge you to explore them. Things have gone a bit mad at the moment.

The Shutdown

At this point I am on "shutdown furlough". In this private sector, this would be a "lockout" but not only are employees impacted but also the managers too. I don't have an expected return date. Depending upon what my divisional commissioner decides, extraordinary measures may be taken to hold off on bringing back my team. I may eventually get paid depending upon the legislation passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President at some future date. For now I can only deal with the situation at present.

It appears that the two parties in Congress are at a stalemate. I will not be returning to work until the new congress convenes on January 3rd at the earliest, it appears. I still appear on the rolls of the United States Treasury as staff and haven't been dropped yet.

My last paycheck is set to be received on or near December 31, 2018. After that, things are left twisting in the wind.

The Plan

On Friday I intend to finish work on starting up the kitbashed video processing workstation that was procured from Micro Center. The audio equipment is at readiness. I will need to do an update to the Erie Looking Productions website to note that we are open for business. After that, I'm going to have to go after clients.

Some colleagues are applying for Unemployment Compensation from the State of Ohio. Currently there is a three week waiting period on that. In addition, it all has to be repaid in the event back pay is authorized by the Congress. If I go out and earn my own money during this crisis instead there is no offset to the back pay and it just has to be reported on my tax return. Considering that I am a tax collector, I think I should be able to handle that small thing.

Examples of types of jobs that can be done:

  1. Audio editing
  2. Radio ad production and placement
  3. Audio production
  4. Contract podcast production
  5. Limited music recording for release
  6. Single-camera video recording of events
  7. Radio airtime brokerage
  8. Systems analysis in conjunction with South Shore Microphones
  9. Non-credit teaching using Saylor Academy curricula
  10. In-person test proctoring
  11. Print media production using LaTeX2e
  12. Referral to other appropriate vendors as necessary
  13. Book collection analysis and purchasing recommendations

There is far more I could list. Those are types of jobs I could do contracts on within the limits of current equipment and operational constraints. I'll need help managing the business/sales side but I can keep busy without the usual employer.


Well, I do feel generally disgusted by the current state of affairs. I am glad this is happening now. If this took place in February it would have become a drastic crisis with my employer due to the special work we do. It is far, far better that this is happening now.

Further Reading

Akers, J., Bansal, G., Cadamuro, G., Chen, C., Chen, Q., Lin, L., … Roesner, F. (2018). Technology-Enabled Disinformation: Summary, Lessons, and Recommendations. ArXiv:1812.09383 [Cs]. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1812.09383

Bade, R., & Bresnahan, J. (n.d.). Dems’ New Year’s resolution: Stiff Trump on the wall and reopen the government. Retrieved December 28, 2018, from https://politi.co/2ETqZdG

Bennett, J. T., & Dick, J. (2018, December 27). Congress, Trump Basically Give Up on Ending Partial Shutdown Until 2019. Roll Call. Retrieved from https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/trump-congress-basically-give-ending-partial-shutdown-2019

Blackmon, S. J., & Major, C. H. (2017). Wherefore Art Thou MOOC?: Defining Massive Open Online Courses. Online Learning, 21(4), 195–221. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1163443

Byrnes, J. (2018, December 27). Shutdown to drag into next week — and next year. Retrieved December 28, 2018, from https://thehill.com/policy/finance/423030-shutdown-to-drag-on-with-no-house-votes-expected-this-week

Caygle, H., Everett, B., & Bade, R. (2018, December 22). No signs of shutdown end as all sides dig in. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://politi.co/2QMyF7N

Congress meets briefly, takes no steps to end shutdown. (2018, December 28). Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shutdown-congress-idUSKCN1OQ1HV

Green, M. (2018, December 27). EPA braces to run out of funds by week’s end as shutdown continues. Retrieved December 28, 2018, from https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/423048-epa-braces-to-run-out-of-funds-at-midnight-as-shutdown-continues

Harris, J., & Wihak, C. (2018). The Recognition of Non-Formal Education in Higher Education: Where Are We Now, and Are We Learning from Experience? International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 33(1). Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?q=descriptor%3a%22Experiential+Learning%22&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_2018&pg=5&id=EJ1180057

How partial shutdown of U.S. government could play out. (2018, December 27). Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shutdown-explainer-idUSKCN1OQ0RZ

Kellat, L. N. (2018). Model Chemistry Study Of Choline And Urea Based Deep Eutectic Solvents. Cleveland State University. Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/pg_10?::NO:10:P10_ETD_SUBID:175241

On shutdown, Trump vows to wait as long as it takes for wall funding. (2018, December 27). Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shutdown-trump-idUSKCN1OP16L

Paskevicius, M., Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2018). Content Is King: An Analysis of How the Twitter Discourse Surrounding Open Education Unfolded from 2009 to 2016. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(1), 116–137. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?q=descriptor%3a%22Social+Media%22+AND+descriptor%3a%22Teaching+Methods%22&ft=on&ff1=dtyIn_2018&id=EJ1174052

Reynolds, G. H. (n.d.). I deleted my Twitter account. It’s a breeding ground for thoughtlessness and contempt. Retrieved December 3, 2018, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/12/03/twitter-facebook-social-media-bias-political-poison-blogosphere-instapundit-column/2183648002/

Riismandel, P. (2018, December 12). The Free Music Archive Lives On. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from http://www.radiosurvivor.com/2018/12/11/the-free-music-archive-lives-on/

Schallhorn, K. (2018, December 17). Facebook locks National Weather Service out of dozens of accounts. Retrieved December 27, 2018, from https://www.foxnews.com/tech/facebook-locks-national-weather-service-out-of-dozens-of-accounts

Trump vows “very long” government shutdown in border wall standoff. (2018, December 22). Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/378861/trump-vows-very-long-government-shutdown-in-border-wall-standoff

Tully-McManus, K. (2018, December 27). Shutdown Day 6: Federal Workers Prep for Paycheck Problems, Creditors and Landlords. Roll Call. Retrieved from https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/federal-workers-face-creditors-landlords-shutdown-continues

U. S. Government Accountability Office. (2018). Critical Infrastructure Protection: Protecting the Electric Grid from Geomagnetic Disturbances, (GAO-19-98). Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-98

U. S. Government Accountability Office. (n.d.). Protecting the Electric Grid [MP3]. Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/696106

Zenna. (2018). Scuttlebutt. Leipzig, Germany: Congress Center Leipzig. Retrieved from https://media.ccc.de/v/35c3-9635-scuttlebutt

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Trying Not To Abuse A Metaphor

Today is the 60th birthday of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA TV went off its regular schedule today. With bumpers featuring the current Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, plenty of “history films” have been shown. I had a bit of a realization while watching narrators like Peter Cullen and William Shatner tell the tales of Apollo and the Shuttle’s Return To Flight respectively.

Shatner’s film on Return to Flight noted how we would have something new for the USA to ride to space in lieu of the space shuttle. The problem is that in the years from the film’s creation, we never made such a new system. As a country we made a sad trade-off. Rather than explore low earth orbit and perhaps the stars, we threw money at a monstrous new health care bureaucracy that has yet to work right. We traded dreams of exploration for realities of an even worse health care experience that cost even more money.

As much as people freak out in DC over Russia, we must not alienate our only ride to the International Space Station that we helped lead building. Since our wings for space were basically clipped during the Obama years, SpaceX has far too slowly tried to build commercial capacity instead while re-learning lessons we already went through as a nation from 1958 to now. Until Mr. Musk gets it together, the US space program is reduced to hitchhiking now just as much as it was during the Obama years.

Some days I end up wondering where we could’ve been without the clipped wings we’ve had. Our big advances have been in mobile phone apps and in creating vast surveillance structures like Palantir Gotham. Turning as insular as we’ve had hasn’t been a good thing for overall scientific innovation seemingly.

Where is the spark we need to wake things back up? Where is my moon base? Why isn't Canonical on the moon instead of London?

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