The longest U.S. partial government shutdown is about to hit the 30-day mark with no end in sight. We are on the brink of a national emergency if the White House and lawmakers continue failing to negotiate over funding for Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico.
With furloughed federal employees still working without pay and struggling to decide whether to pay their next bill or allocate money for groceries, food pantries across the country are seeing an unfortunate spike in business during this crisis.
CNN anchor Victor Blackwell shifted gears during Saturday's "New Day" broadcast and asked viewers to help their local food banks.
CNN anchor makes desperate plea amid shutdown www.youtube.com
"It's the end of the first full week after more than 800,000 federal workers and an estimated two million federal contractors were not paid," Blackwell said.
"The stories are becoming more desperate."
"People are pawning their wedding rings to pay rent, deciding between buying medicine and paying the power bill, selling their Christmas presents to make ends meet, to buy food."
The news anchor emphasized that the food crisis is affecting working people. And although he admitted being grateful for always receiving paychecks, unlike the furloughed employees, he could relate to the struggles of those earning low wages.
"I know what it feels like to open the refrigerator and there's nothing but condiments and ice, to hope that it's someone's birthday at work the next day and there's a potluck so you can have lunch tomorrow."
"No working person, especially not people who work for us, who work for the American people, should have to struggle the way that federal workers are right now."
Blackwell then announced he was about to do something he's never done before. He inspired viewers to help "feed each other."
"I don't want to sound self-righteous. This show is not a telethon. We will continue to challenge the policies and the politics and all that's happening in Washington, but at the same time I know that we can feed each other."
"People shouldn't have to question where their next meal is from. We could feed each other."
Let's make sure our federal workers don't have to question where they'll get their next meal. Support your local f… https://t.co/EWclRyQE3W— Victor Blackwell CNN (@Victor Blackwell CNN) 1547901509.0
Blackwell disclosed he will be donating to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and asked people to support their local community food banks as well. He provided the hashtag: #shutdownhunger for people to help spread the message on their various social media accounts.
"Again, we can feed each other while they fight in Washington."
People have started responding to the call because starving is not an option.
Woke up and saw Victor Blackwell on CNN talking about helping federal employees during shutdown. Immediately wante… https://t.co/ohTn4AEKsn— Anita Francis (@Anita Francis) 1547989676.0
We cannot re-open the government, but we can feed our neighbors, including those 3 million federal workers and cont… https://t.co/hAZce9ZCcN— Elizabeth St.John (@Elizabeth St.John) 1547914157.0
@VictorBlackwell I was moved by your honesty and humility @VictorBlackwell. $30 to The Greater Chicago Food Deposit… https://t.co/mLFISQwQTV— Tim Piatek (@Tim Piatek) 1547902167.0
@VictorBlackwell Sipping my morning coffee in cold Canada this morning listening to your plea to your fellow Americ… https://t.co/Nud9zbo0vt— Sarah Comeau (@Sarah Comeau) 1547901780.0
@Mickey_Halifax @VictorBlackwell #ShutdownHunger From Alberta, Canada. I am a student of immigrant parents and und… https://t.co/zLX7uRNgDR— Matayo (@Matayo) 1547905423.0
@VictorBlackwell Done! @ACCFB is a terrific, efficient organization offering healthy food to one in five people in… https://t.co/5ZbZU4i33I— Suzanne Harris (@Suzanne Harris) 1547903125.0
@VictorBlackwell Greatful to kind federal work talents who support us. Thanks for a timely reminder. Glad to contri… https://t.co/sbopfFgXS5— Rahul Avasthy (@Rahul Avasthy) 1547912598.0
I just made a donation to the Atlanta Food Bank @VictorBlackwell I love this idea #shutdownhunger— Eileen Hallmark (@Eileen Hallmark) 1547901429.0
@VictorBlackwell Putting my money where my mouth is!!! Atlanta Community Food Bank Donation complete #shutdownhunger— Jerry3natl (@Jerry3natl) 1547901980.0
@VictorBlackwell $100 provides 700 meals. #ShutdownHunger #BeKind https://t.co/CmHfEjwUvQ— Terri Cummings (@Terri Cummings) 1547902156.0
Blackwell was venerated for going off script to help those we are indebted to.
@VictorBlackwell Your brief compassionate appeal to the people of our nation to at the least feed each other, was o… https://t.co/gbdYX52Sfo— Jeff Stine (@Jeff Stine) 1547953051.0
@VictorBlackwell It says a lot about people in this country who band together to take care of one another. From all… https://t.co/jwLZCHhwg8— Trista Wade (@Trista Wade) 1547901799.0
@VictorBlackwell As an American and federal employee, I really appreciate this. My family is always prepared for an… https://t.co/cD7X7tUqAW— txtaxman (@txtaxman) 1547930173.0
@VictorBlackwell Thanks for your reporting and for the nudge to donate. We fly through O'Hare frequently. Our smal… https://t.co/7dz8b9IJNe— Marcia Kellenberger (@Marcia Kellenberger) 1547914288.0
The outpouring of concern and support proves there is still a lot of good in this world. A sense of humanity is being restored with generous donations being made from all walks of life.
@VictorBlackwell Thank you @VictorBlackwell for an awesome idea! I hope this starts trending so all local charities… https://t.co/rY4cUm7H35— Sherri ford (@Sherri ford) 1547907489.0
@VictorBlackwell Thank you for your heartfelt words and powerful message to stand up and help those in need during… https://t.co/pMFlLJuuV5— Yoko Zbornak (@Yoko Zbornak) 1547925348.0
@VictorBlackwell @victorblackwell I’m just a kid but I donated! My rock band lost a member cuz his dad is Coast Gua… https://t.co/qzpO0TeZhx— Shannon (@Shannon) 1548008162.0
@VictorBlackwell Beautiful man, lovely gesture👏 which I saw just now after returning from selling, for the 1st time… https://t.co/dE94uQ3Ipn— Rosemary Lafrenière (@Rosemary Lafrenière) 1547926504.0
@VictorBlackwell Thank You Mr. Blackwell! The struggle is real let me tell you. I had a funny but sobering conver… https://t.co/xxWpm9Ng4l— trey ward (@trey ward) 1547923449.0
@VictorBlackwell I was moved by your efforts on CNN and will make it a priority to donate regularly to my local foo… https://t.co/3u3b93Tufl— Kim P (@Kim P) 1547915728.0
Kyle Waide, the CEO for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, was a guest on the show prior to Blackwell making his plea at the end of the segment. Waide said he spoke to a gentleman who once worked as a volunteer for a food bank and found himself on the other side of the table and expressed how humbling, and frustrated he was over the situation.
The CEO described the current crisis as being in uncharted territory and that his team is preparing "as though it's a natural disaster."
We can all help each other during this crisis. Find out where your local food banks are so you can help by visiting the Feeding America website.
The partial government shutdown officially became the longest in U.S. history on Saturday, surpassing the 21-day shutdown in 1995 - 1996.
The impasse between Democrats and Donald Trump over funding for his inane border wall with Mexico has put up a proverbial barrier between 800,000 federal employees and their livelihood.
Although Trump's flawed campaign promise got backlash based on principle, the border wall also sparked debate on its effectiveness in keeping migrants from entering the United States.
Amy Patrick—an expert in structural engineering and adjunct professor of structural analysis—laid the foundation for a strong argument over why Trump's wall is doomed to fail if it were to come to fruition.
Basically, she destroyed 45's wall with her professional assessment.
In Patrick's now-viral Facebook post, she explained the reasons why Trump's wall will not work.
"To recap: I'm a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program in the nation and over a decade of experience on high-performance projects, and particularly of cleaning up design disasters where the factors weren't properly accounted for, and I'm an adjunct professor of structural analysis and design at UH-Downtown."
"I have previously been deposed as an expert witness in matters regarding proper construction of walls and the various factors associated therein, and my testimony has passed Daubert."
"Am I a wall expert?"
"I am. I am literally a court-accepted expert on walls."
"Structurally and civil engineering-wise, the border wall is not a feasible project. Trump did not hire engineers to design the thing. He solicited bids from contractors, not engineers.
"This means it's not been designed by professionals. It's a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen."
She backed her claim in the comments by explaining the importance of contractors and engineers working together.
She went into detail about the type of disasters we could expect.
"Off the top of my head..."
"1) It will mess with our ability to drain land in flash flooding. Anything impeding the ability of water to get where it needs to go (doesn't matter if there are holes in the wall or whatever) is going to dramatically increase the risk of flooding."
"2) Messes with all kind of stuff ecologically. For all other projects, we have to do an Environmental Site Assessment, which is arduous. They're either planning to circumvent all this, or they haven't accounted for it yet, because that's part of the design process, and this thing hasn't been designed."
"3) The prototypes they came up with are nearly impossible to build or don't actually do the job."
Patrick went on to add links to relevant data.
"This article explains more: Who Would Profit from The TrumpWall?"
"And so on."
"The estimates provided for the cost are arrived at unreasonably. You can look for yourself at the two-year-old estimate that you see everyone citing: Writing on the Wall: Report Suggests Border Project Is Off-Track and Over Budget"
Then explained further issues that will arise.
"It does not account for rework, complexities beyond the prototype design, factors to prevent flood and environmental hazard creation, engineering redesign... It's going to be higher than $50 [billion]."
"The contractors will hit the government with near CONSTANT change orders. "Cost overrun" will be the name of the game. It will not be completed in Trump's lifetime."
"I'm a structural forensicist, which means I'm called in when things go wrong. This is a project that WILL go wrong. When projects go wrong, the original estimates are just *obliterated*."
"And when that happens, good luck getting it fixed, because there aren't that many forensicists out there to right the ship, particularly not that are willing to work on a border wall project— a large quotient of us are immigrants, and besides, we can't afford to bid on jobs that are this political."
"We're small firms, and we're already busy, and we don't gamble our reputations on political footballs. So you'd end up with a revolving door of contractors making a giant, uncoordinated muddle of things, and it'd generally be a mess. Good money after bad. The GAO agrees with me."
"And it won't be effective. I could, right now, purchase a 32 foot extension ladder and weld a cheap custom saddle for the top of the proposed wall so that I can get over it. I don't know who they talked to about the wall design and its efficacy, but it sure as heck wasn't anybody with any engineering imagination."
"Another thing: we are not far from the day where inexpensive drones will be able to pick up and carry someone. This will happen in the next ten years, and it's folly to think that the coyotes who ferry people over the border won't purchase or create them. They're low enough, quiet enough, and small enough to quickly zip people over any wall we could build undetected with our current monitoring setup."
"Let's have border security, by all means, but let's be smart about it. This is not smart. It's not effective. It's NOT cheap. The returns will be diminishing as technology advances, too. This is a ridiculous idea that will never be successfully executed and, as such, would be a monumental waste of money. 🤷🏻♀️"
"This is set to public. Have a blast sharing it."
Indy 100 noted that both the Democrats and Republicans agreed with Patrick's expert advice from her January 9 Facebook post.
There were some facetious comments actually praising her for presenting facts.
Most just praised her for telling it like is.
A little bit of history reminded us about why walls never work.