How the Government Shutdown Is Messing Up Texas

To the political novice, a federal government shutdown sounds like an excuse to get crazy. Anarchy in the streets! Do more than the usual drugs in Deep Ellum! Operate a bandit taxi service from the same 1993 minivan you use to transport DISD students to school! But that's not how it really works. In fact, the federal government shutdown is putting a stop to a lot of fun things in Dallas, and is making life unpleasant for many people across Texas. Here are some of the things we can't do as our legislators continue to make asses out of themselves.

Watch reserve officers-in-training run to Dallas while holding a football and asking you for money For the past 30 years, the Red River Shootout has been accompanied by a charity "Run to Dallas," in which the University of Texas' NROTC Battalion runs 200 miles from the campus to Dallas. As part of the event, the ROTC tries to encourage the public to donate to charities such as the T.J. Ford Foundation and the American Red Cross . But the charity run won't happen this year, because it's been deemed non-essential.

Receive food donations from the USDA The North Texas Food Bank has stopped receiving shipments from the United States Department of Agriculture during the government shutdown.WFAA reports that 10 truckloads of food for the charity have been canceled, forcing the food bank to skimp out on as many as 305,000 new meals. Food banks are asking for donations from the public to combat the shortage.

Drink beer that tastes like pumpkin and other weird fall flavors If you're one of those sophisticated drunks who goes out not to get laid but just to analyze the hoppiness of new craft beer, then your evening out at the local brewery will be even sadder and more sterile than usual. That's because craft brewers can't introduce new beer flavors during the shutdown, as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has stopped approving new recipes.

The Four Corners Brewing Co. in West Dallas told The Dallas Morning News that getting approval for its winter seasonal beer will "probably be delayed for longer than normal," while Community Beer Co. in the Design District can't even figure out which of its flavors are currently approved thanks to the janky TTB website.

New breweries are also unable to open, putting a hold on local pending projects such as the Collective Brewing Project in Fort Worth.

However, current permit-holders are still good to go. In that case, we suggest you borrow some gingerbread-flavored high fructose corn syrup from Starbucks and squirt it into whatever craft beer you're currently sipping so the flavor isn't so grossly out of season.

Calculate your likelihood of catching the flu from eating that stranger's perfectly good Schlotsky's sandwich that he only ate half of and then just left there KERA reports that the Centers for Disease Control's flu-tracking program is on hold because of the shutdown, so there's no way to figure out how bad the flu season is. Dallas health officials are warning everyone to get the flu shot. "We can't determine where the trends are in terms of flu cases throughout the United Sates," Dallas County Health Department Zach Thompson told the station.

Eat Foster Farms chicken in peace Notice how there's a lot of food and beverage-related items on this list? That's because federal food safety workers have been furloughed during the shutdown. However, major food corporations got to stay open and keep on producing. Their break from pesky government regulators seemed to be going well, until five Texans got sick in a national salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 300 people since July.

The CDC can't pin down the cause of the Texas illnesses yet, but the national outbreak has been linked to Foster Farms chicken.

Foster Farms' response? On Wednesday, a Foster Farms spokesman told the News that the chicken is safe to eat when it's "properly cooked and handled," a statement that does not impress the Center for Science in the Public Interest and other consumer advocacy organizations. In fact, Consumer Reports conducted its own test and announced today that it found a dangerous strain of Salmonella in a sample of Foster Farms raw chicken. The group says it's "outrageous" that Foster Farms has yet to issue a recall.

Go camping in Fort Worth The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Fort Worth district announced that all corps-operated campgrounds and parks will be closed during the shutdown, just as the weather is getting nice.

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Amy Martyn
Contact: Amy Martyn