Monday, October 7, 2013

It doesn't matter - Loren Feldman and some Catholic priests walk into a government shutdown/slimdown

When someone performs a particular action, the ripple effects of that action can extend way, way out.

Loren Feldman produces a weekly video called "Monday Matters," in which he comments on various tech and non-tech stories, and then follows it up by proclaiming, "It doesn't matter!"

Sometimes Feldman may do Monday Matters, but not release it on a Monday.

It doesn't matter!

Last week, there was no Monday Matters. I figured that Feldman was doing something more important.

It doesn't matter!

Well, there was no Monday Matters today either, and Feldman took the time to explain why. It turns out that the current showings of Monday Matters are funded by a government agency; Feldman has chosen not to disclose which agency is funding the show, but he does provide some detail about the conversations between himself and the agency on reviving Monday Matters.

Feldman then states:

Anyhoo, this agency has been impacted by the shutdown and they asked that the show be put on hold until they are fully funded again.

The Republicans and Democrats inside the Beltway who have been fighting over government funding were probably able to predict some of the results of a failure to pass a budget or a continuing resolution. Perhaps they predicted that people would be upset when the NASA social media websites stopped sharing goodies. Perhaps they predicted that it would become more difficult to track flu outbreaks or unemployment. But I seriously doub that any of the politicians predicted that the shutdown would bring a temporary close to a Loren Feldman video series.

Oh well, it doesn't matter. As long as they don't try to pry the puppets from Feldman's hands.

Now I know that some of you are saying that Feldman should just go ahead and produce the videos anyway. Unfortunately, there may be a law against that. Just ask Catholic priests who contract with the U.S. military:

The U.S. government shutdown is affecting religious services in the U.S. military, as the military has furloughed as many as fifty Catholic chaplains because of the partial government shutdown.

The furloughed chaplains were not allowed to celebrate weekend Mass, and Todd Starnes reports for Fox News that at least one chaplain was told that he would be subjected to disciplinary action if he engaged in ministry activity.

While some claim that this is part of Obama's continuing war on religious people, Homeland Security News Wire does not agree.

The decision to ban contract priest from offering their services, even voluntarily, may be the result of more prosaic consideration having to do with the Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA), though. The ADA codifies the Constitutional requirement that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by Law.” Federal officials are prohibited from entering into contracts, incurring obligations, or performing activities without having a current appropriation. ADA specifically restricts acceptance of voluntary services or personal services beyond authorized levels “except for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.”

From a legal standpoint, the service of Catholic priests does not impact emergencies involving the safety of human life (oddly enough, Catholic priests are usually pro-life, so this claim could be disputed). And apparently Loren Feldman's video services aren't needed in emergency situations either.
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