I don’t think “essential” means what Congress thinks it means:

A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.

According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed.

It appears that the members gym in the Senate remains open on similar terms. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) complained to a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald that the members gym was getting “rank.”


The government has told about 60 home owners in southern Nevada, for instance, that they need to leave their property for the duration of the shutdown, because their homes sit on federal land in the Lake Mead Recreational Area. Since Lake Mead is managed by the feds, anybody who happens to own a home within its boundaries is technically a “visitor” subject to the same lockout that applies to tourists, hikers, campers or sportsmen seeking access to federal land.

The rules governing Lake Mead say that the only homes allowed there must be vacation homes, with the owners having a primary residence someplace else, so they’re not considered full-time, year-round residents of the park. But some home owners apparently got into the habit of spending most of their time at Lake Mead, anyway. Joyce Spencer, 77, said she and her husband Ralph, who is 80, had to move in with nearby family after a park ranger told them they had 24 hours to evacuate the Lake Mead home they’ve owned since the 1970s. “I had to buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants,” Joyce Spencer told TV station KTNV. “I had to be sure and get his walker and his scooter.”

I suggest these people climb aboard the nearest Greyhound headed to Washington D.C. and take up residence in the House gym.


Filed under Congress

25 responses to “Essential

  1. “Essential” means “stuff I use” and “non-essential” means “stuff other people use”, at least in Republican-speak.

  2. democommie

    The people at Lake Mead? Wonder how many wanted smaller gummint before they found out that gummint was their landlord.

    The House, and in particular the “mainstream” republicans–both of them–are gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do. Assholes.

    • I’m sure they want a smaller government, because they think that a smaller government would get out of the landlord business and sell them the property their houses are on at an attractive price.

  3. democommie

    I wonder if Boehner is beginning to feel like Robespierre did on the “9th of Thermidor*”

    They say that the toughest part of riding the tiger is getting off. I’m guessing that poor Johnny Boner is realizing that getting in league with the teabaggers is getting him in hot water?


  4. Jim in Memphis

    Pretty arbitrary on what is being closed. Seems like someone is trying to make things as painful as possible with the shutdown.

    • From Bloomberg News:

      The Andrews Air Force Base golf course is funded through user fees and that’s why it remains open, said Air Force Captain Lindy Singleton, chief of public affairs for the 11th Wing at Andrews.

      You have to get government funding to be affected by a government shutdown, dufus.

      • Jim in Memphis

        “According to the PGA the US government spends an average of $384,000 – $1,000,000 per year on every golf course it owns. The federal government operates some 234 golf courses around the world. Combined, that’s a total of about $140 million per year on golf courses. The course remains open. Officials cite that the course receives payments from private individuals on snacks and course fees, but it is clear that the courses still run on tax payer dollars.” From the article. Also, the article was pointing out how the shutdown is closing privately funded places like Mt. Vernon, the WWII Memorials, etc. Why are those closed?

      • I don’t know what story you’re quoting but if it’s “Liberty News” it’s right wing bubble propaganda bullshit. You didn’t say EVERY golf course the US owns is still open. You asked about the one at Andrews.

        “The Andrews Air Force Base golf course is funded through user fees …”

        It has to do with how it’s funded. Having a few donations for upkeep from the snack bar and coffee machine isn’t the same as funding operations.

        I didn’t see those quotes in the Bloomberg piece. Liberty News and Breitbart are not reliable sources.

        Fuck off Jim you’re being a troll. Go play with Georgina.

      • Jim in Memphis

        Good to see the government hold the line on keeping things like the National Mall closed to all veterans and the general public. At least they don’t show favoritism and let one group use it while all others are banned right?

      • But they were arrested. 200 of them. Facing charges, too. Kinda negates your argument that Barry Obummer “let them” use the Mall.

      • Jim in Memphis

        They only got arrested when they left the Mall and blocked streets in the area. They were given a permit to hold their rally in the “closed” National Mall.

  5. I do hope they use another name for essential.non-essential. To learn that I’m actually non-essential is kind of a downer.

  6. Essential yes, you are.

    Proper term for non-essential in this instance: stupid, republican asshole or SRA.

  7. democommie

    “Pretty arbitrary on what is being closed. Seems like someone is trying to make things as painful as possible with the shutdown.”

    Are you on battery power or do they just wind you up at night? Notorious teabaggist website runs story that is sensationalist with a completely false headline–newsflash, Jimbo–military bases are not U.S. National Parks, even if they actually are sited inside one. They’re U.S. Military Reservations, deemed, “Essential”, last I checked.

    Besides the inflammatory and inaccurate header, the story suggests that it’s actually the PotUS who made the decision–what the fuck do you smoke? I really doubt that the nefarious plots attributed to Mr. Obama would leave him with the time to review a list of hundreds to thousands of items that are going to be deemed essential. IOW, Jimmy, I doubt that he made that call.

    Nice photo, btw, with that blogpost–Johnny Boner and the president in happier (or less snappish, anyway) days.

    You’re full of shit, as usual. Does it ever bother you that most of your outrage is based on bullshit misinformation? Never mind, it’s a rhetorical question.

  8. democommie

    Gosh, it appears that Jimbo either didn’t read any of the comments under the story OR he simply lied, which is way more republican of him. You should consider a run for office, Jimbo–you’ve got he smarmy dishonesty down pat.

  9. democommie

    This gets better:

    From a comment on “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” (FreeThoughtBlogs);


    The guy who wrote that article about Andrews AFB (and other stuff) is a proud graduate of Belmont University, a private Christian college in Nashville, TN where Alberto Gonzales holds the newly established Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law.

    Just sayin’”

    You shall be known by the company you keep.

    • Belmont University is just up the street from me. It’s actually not a Christian university any more, they severed their ties with the Southern Baptist Convention many years ago. Had to pay $11 million in a legal settlement. By that point it was basically in name only, anyway. Students haven’t been required to attend chapel or take Bible classes for decades (to my knowledge.)

      When a lesbian soccer coach was fired for telling her students she and her partner were expecting a baby, it created national news. Belmont has since added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.

      All of which is to say, Belmont isn’t quite the Bible-banging university one would think. It’s not like Regent or Liberty. They have a very well recognized music business program.

      That said, Alberto Gonzalez of Bush Administration fame teaches at the law school there. Not exactly a liberal ACLU lover. But still….

  10. democommie

    “They only got arrested when they left the Mall and blocked streets in the area. They were given a permit to hold their rally in the “closed” National Mall.”

    Gee, Jimbo, you don’t just get your feet dirty when you step in the shit do ya?

    It appears that the protest had been issued a permit, prior to the shutdown and the Park Service granted the organizers the same 1st Amendment “exemption” that they granted the aged veterans at the WWII Memorial.

    Eight congressmen were arrested, which is eight more than were arrested at the WWII memorial. Nobody was arrested at the WWII memorial even though the decision to allow the event was made AFTER it happened.

    It’s pretty obvious at this point that you don’t expect to be taken seriously, or maybe you do and you’re just delsusional.

    • Jim in Memphis

      So all of the people that had reservations to camp at a National Park prior to the shutdown are being allowed in the parks? Get real DC. This was a group favored by the Administration so they were not turned away.

      • Jim in Memphis

        Also, the Congressmen were arrested for obstructing the roads, not for using the park. Nobody would have been arrested if they had remained in the “closed” National Mall. Sounds like someone was looking for a PR stunt to get their names in the paper. I am sure SB is writing how stupid a move it was for the Congressmen to participate in such a stunt.

      • Jim, you know that information bubble everyone said was the reason Republicans continue to lose national elections? Yeah, your attempt to make it look as if Obama and the Dems are purposely playing politics with a government shutdown the REPUBLICANS orchestrated and have been planning for months is a classic example of that.

        Keep it up, we don’t want your side anywhere near the White House.

      • This was a group favored by the Administration so they were not turned away.

        That’s hilarious. Also delusional. Fox News has rotted your brain.

      • Hilarious:

        In a statement, the Park Service said it had allowed the immigration rally as an expression of “First Amendment rights,” the same rationale it had provided for opening the war memorial.

        So, conservatives’ grandstanding PR stunt at the World War II Memorial is what made this immigration rally possible. Hoisted on their own petard.


      • Jim in Memphis

        SB – so they were expressing their “First Amendment Rights” and that granted them access to the National Mall? So all anyone has to do is go up to the barricade and ask to express their First Amendment Rights and they will be let into the Mall? I can’t believe you could accept that explanation with a straight face.

      • Sounds like there was a little more to it than that. They had a permit which was issued prior to the shutdown, etc. Don’t know the World War II veterans even had that.