Your government not at work:
Already, because of the government shutdown, the National Institutes of Health has stopped enrolling seriously ill cancer patients and others in studies and clinical trials testing new treatments.
Now, according to NPR and other reports, NIH has suspended a volunteer-run program that uses therapy dogs to comfort children and others. The reason: Staff veterinarians, who must check the health of the dogs, have been furloughed, NIH said.
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At last count, more than 225 of the 535 House and Senate members in Congress have pledged to send their paychecks back to the U.S. Treasury or donate them to charity as long as the government shutdown continues.
But there also are more than a dozen bold souls who have told CNN they'll keep cashing their checks.
''I'm working," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, adding that "everyone that works gets paid for working."
Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, echoed his fellow Iowan: "As long as we're working, we ought to get paid."
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said refusing salaries is "silly."
For the record, the annual salary for rank-and-file House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000; leaders of those bodies make between $193,000 and $224,000.
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As if D.C. hasn't been under siege enough in the past month or so --what with a mass killing, a frightening and fatal car chase, a man setting himself on fire on the National Mall, and, of course, the shutdown -- more fun is forecast for Friday and the weekend.
Angry veterans are promising to storm memorials and monuments that have been put off-limits because of the government's shuttering. Organizers are calling it the "Million Vet March on the Memorials" and say 3,000 from around the country have promised to attend.
Or hope to, if they don't get tangled in the "Truckers Ride for the Constitution," a protest planned to vent rage at the shutdown, debt ceiling, fuel prices and low wages. The plan is for big rigs to bollix up the Beltway with trucks circling endlessly at 55 mph beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend. They hope to enlist motorists to join their cavalcade.
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Some deep pockets in the private sector are stepping up to help those hurt by the government shutdown.
John Arnold, a former hedge-fund manager who made a fortune working for Enron, said he will donate $10 million to make sure 7,000 children locked out of Head Start by the shutdown can go back. And the Fisher House Foundation is offering help to families of fallen troops who cannot get death benefits until the federal-funds spigot is turned on again.
No such benevolence from Starbucks, whose CEO, Howard Schultz, offered his disappointment Monday at "the level of irresponsibility and dysfunction we are witness to," but no free refreshments.
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Another measure of the absence of much work getting done is a sharp drop in the number of tweets issuing from federal government Twitter accounts.
NextGov.com cites a tally by Measured Voice, a social-media analysis and management company, that says the number of posts a day since the shutdown began have dropped from the normal 2,047 to only about 723. Following the shutdown's start, the top tweeters have been the National Weather Service, the U.S. Air Force and National Guard and, oddly, the State Department's Farsi-language Twitter feed.
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Speaking of tweets: Courtesy of Doctrine Man, who tweets by the handle @Doctrine_Man, here are some of the top 10 "Government Shutdown Pickup Lines":
-- "You must have been laid off from the CDC because your smile is infectious."
-- "I don't care what Uncle Sam says, you're always essential to me."
-- "Are you furloughnsome tonight?"
-- "Where have you been sequestered all my life?"