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Why this government shutdown was unlike any other
The U.S. government has shut down 18 times in the past four decades, but this most recent instance has proven unique.
The Senate voted to end the three-day government shutdown on Monday after Democrats agreed to extend government funding by three weeks in exchange for a pledge by Republicans to allow an immigration bill to reach the floor in February.
The agreement marks the first time Democrats have received a hard deadline for a vote on an immigration bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also promised to allow debate on the floor and an open amendment process.
But the vows of the majority leader fall short of what Democrats had initially demanded: an immediate vote on protections for Dreamers — undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Some lawmakers seemed to express frustration at the compromise.
“Well I think the first thing he needs to do is strengthen his statement from last night,” said Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent who typically votes with Democrats. “‘I intend.’ I would much rather he say, ‘I commit’ or ‘I will move.’”
Among the Democratic senators who voted against extending government funding were potential 2020 presidential candidates like Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris.
The shutdown is the country’s 18th since the modern budget era began with the passing of the Budget Act of 1974, and it’s unique for a couple reasons.
For one, it’s the first time we’ve seen a shutdown where one party has controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House, and federal employees were furloughed — sent home without pay.
But more remarkable about the shutdown was the lack of involvement and clear direction from the White House. Prior to the shutdown, Republican leaders had attempted to force Democrats to choose between negotiating solutions for either DACA or CHIP, a health insurance program that provides services to 8.9 million children.
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) January 19, 2018
Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are right under our noses.
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
The Fermi paradox asks us where all the aliens are if the cosmos should be filled with them. The Dark Forest theory says we should pray we never find them.
The Milky Way galaxy has 200 billion stars and perhaps 100 billion planets. If even a small fraction of those planets harbored life, and even if only a pathetic scattering of those planets had lifeforms which became intelligent, our galaxy would be teeming with alien civilizations, some of whom would be either looking for us or discoverable for at least a little while.
President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.
A new coronavirus vaccine on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP
Medical workers draw blood from volunteers participating in a trial of a coronavirus vaccine at the Budenko Main Military Hospital outside Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.
- In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
- Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
- It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
Talkspace.com<p>Former employees also questioned the legitimacy of certain interventions by the company into client-therapist interactions. For example, after one therapist sent a client a link to an online anxiety worksheet, a company representative instructed her to try to keep clients inside the app.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I was like, 'How do you know I did that?'" Karissa Brennan, a therapist who worked with Talkspace from 2015 to 2017, told the Times. "They said it was private, but it wasn't."</p><p>Other former employees said the company would pay special attention to its "enterprise partner" clients, who worked at companies like Google. One therapist said Talkspace contacted her for taking too long to respond to Google clients.</p><p>Talkspace responded to the Times with a Medium <a href="https://medium.com/@founders_22883/talkspace-founders-respond-to-a-new-york-times-article-78d6f5c45c59" target="_blank">post</a>, which claimed the Times report contained false and "uninformed assertions."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Talkspace is a HIPAA/HITECH and SOC2 approved platform, audited annually by external vendors, and has deployed additional technologies to keep its data safe, exceeding all existing regulatory requirements," the post states.</p>