Friends, in his own opinion, ProfessorRoush has done an exceptional job at Garden Musings, avoiding any mention of politics here over the now 3+ years I've blogged. Only those who know my tendency to rant over seemingly minute issues can fathom what a struggle that has been, but I'm going to make an exception today. The dam has broken. The die is cast. The Rubicon has been crossed. The....oh, you know what I mean.
Last night, I was at a Riley County Extension Board meeting and the local Horticultural agent reported that he and the Ag agent had recently seen a new "weed", Tragia sp. and had visited the plant experts at K-State to identify it. Now, Tragia, also known as NoseBurn, is not new, since two species have been reported in Kansas, but it's fairly rare and I hadn't seen it before either. In fact, it's not described at www.kswildflower.org, my go-to Kansas native plant site.
So I pulled out my trusty I-phone and went to http://plants.usda.gov/, where, to my surprise, I received the following message:
My Fellow Gardeners, that is way beyond absolutely ridiculous. It tells me clearly that the bureaucrats are playing games. I'm in a fortunate place in my life, not old enough for Social Security or Medicare, not directly dependent on the Federal government for income, and not planning any trips presently to a National Park. So I've been personally unaffected by the "Shutdown" and as long as the military and senior citizens get paid, I have enough of a Libertarian streak that I'm happy for the respite from government. I was a little aggravated yesterday over the news of shutdown of the WWII memorial; I mean, the place is for walking around, do we have to barricade it off? But to shut down a running informational website? I understand that the information may not be immediately updated, but I'm sure that I can manage without the absolute latest information on a botanical specimen. I suppose someone might offer the feeble explanation that no one is around to make sure Server #2115 doesn't overheat and subsequently burn down Washington, but the USDA Plants database isn't the only thing on those servers and I suspect those computer technicians are on the "critical" list of personnel anyway.
Recognize that I'm not pointing a specific finger here. Blame the Democratic Senators, blame the Tea Party if you want, but they are all representing the people who elected them and we got what we asked for; stalemate, which is almost as good as not having a government. Shutting the USDA Plants database down, however, is nothing but a political ploy. A pox on both their Houses.