It’s almost been 24 hours now since the much-ballyhooed federal government shutdown. Is it safe to go outside, or should everyone just hunker down with their cell phones and wait for the inevitable failure of Facebook?

A partial federal shutdown took effect at midnight Saturday, Dec. 22 and was expected to remain through Christmas, as President Donald Trump and congressional “leaders” are in a standoff over funds for the border wall with Mexico.

One of Ohio’s U.S. senators, Republican Rob Portman, previously introduced legislation that would prohibit these government shutdowns. With all due respect to Sen. Portman, I’m not altogether opposed to certain government shutdowns.

As former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said during the 2011 debates: “When I get there (as POTUS), three agencies of government that are gone are Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see. The third agency of government I would do away with – the Education, uh, the, uh, Commerce and let’s see. I can’t…the third one. Sorry. Oops.”

For a bit of irony, Perry later identified the Department of Energy as the agency he had been trying to name. Of course, President Trump later named Perry to lead the Department of Energy – the same agency Perry wanted to abolish but couldn’t think of. You can’t make this up.

So maybe partial government shutdowns do have some merit. Given what’s been going on in Ohio government this year – including in Highland County – theft in office might be reduced with a government shutdown.

There are shutdowns, of course, and then there are shutdowns. This week’s “shutdown” really isn’t anything that would prompt a mad dash to Great Scot for milk, eggs and bread.

As The Associated Press reports:

• Social Security checks will go out and troops will remain at their posts.

• Doctors and hospitals will receive their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

• The U.S. Postal Service is an independent agency and won’t be affected.

• Essential government agencies, including the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, will remain open.

• The air traffic control system, food inspection, Medicare, veterans’ health care and many other essential government programs will run as usual.

• Nearly 90 percent of the Department of Homeland Security’s 240,000 employees will be at work because they’re considered essential.

• And special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, which is investigating Trump, is unaffected by a shutdown.

My favorite story on the shutdown is this post on the National Park Service website:

“During the federal government shutdown, this website will not be updated and may not reflect current conditions. Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely. Some visitor services may be available. For most parks, there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities or road maintenance. For more information, see www.doi.gov/shutdown and the park website.”

(And of course the government link provided has no new information.)

This just in:

• At this time, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio is closed. I repeat: At this time, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio is closed.

Sorry, if that disrupts anyone’s holiday travel plans.

Meanwhile, federal workers will get paid for doing nothing and the Swamp is anything but shut down.

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For some better news, it’s a few million thumbs down for Facebook this week.

Anthony Cuthbertson reports for The Independent in England (https://www.independent.co.uk) that separate investigations have revealed that “Facebook gave more than 150 firms access to people's private messages, while also making it impossible for users to avoid location-based ads.

“After months of fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, U.S. prosecutors also finally got around to filing a lawsuit against Facebook for its data sharing practices,” Cuthbertson writes. “Individually, none of these would likely be enough to bring Facebook down, but some experts believe that, collectively, this could signal the end for the internet behemoth.

“The first lawsuit against Facebook regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which affected more than 87 million users, comes courtesy of the attorney general of the District of Columbia. It is unlikely to be the last, given Facebook is also currently facing probes by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice – and that's just in the U.S.”

In addition to its data-sharing practices, Facebook also can be a tremendous time-waster. Especially for those of us who can’t remember how to access our now-dormant accounts.

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Lastly, a special thank-you goes out to Larry “Rock” Roosa of Newport, Tenn. As in past years, this week Rock provided a nice luncheon for the faculty and staff at McClain High School.

I’m told that current Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin and previous City Manager Ron Coffey also enjoyed the lunch.

Rock is an E.L. McClain High School graduate, and he has contributed generously to the school. The annual luncheon is Rock’s way of saying thanks and merry Christmas to today’s educators.

I’m sure his generosity is appreciated.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and thanks for reading The Highland County Press.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.