Most Americans Call Shutdown ‘Embarrassing’ As It’s Set To Become Longest In History

Most Americans

Three-quarters of Americans say the government shutdown, now tied for the longest in U.S. history, is “embarrassing for the country,” including a majority of Republicans, a new NPR/Ipsos Poll finds.

If no deal is struck by midnight Friday, this partial shutdown will be the longest ever. From late 1995 to early 1996, the government was shut down for 21 days. Friday is the 21st day of this current shutdown. Neither side appears ready to budge, and this poll and others make Democrats feel they have the upper hand.

And they have reason to feel that way — about 7 in 10 in the NPR/Ipsos Poll also say the government shutdown is going to hurt the country, that it will hurt the economy and that Congress should pass a bill to reopen the government now while budget talks continue. Just 3 in 10 believe the government should remain closed until there is funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Reuters/Ipsos Poll out Tuesday found that 51 percent of Americans said President Trump “deserves most of the blame,” up 4 points from late December 2018 around when the shutdown began. A YouGov Poll out this week found 50 percent also blamed Trump, also up 4 points from late December.

The NPR/Ipsos Poll also found that Trump’s Oval Office address Tuesday had little effect. Just 10 percent of Americans said the president’s speech brought the country closer to ending the government shutdown. (Nearly 4 in 10 said they did not watch or even follow the address.)

And not many, if anyone, beyond his base say his speech convinced them that there is a “crisis” at the Southern U.S. border. Just 38 percent of Americans overall said his speech convinced them of a crisis at the border, and only about a third said his speech convinced them there is a need for a wall along the border.

Most Americans1

Independents are not with the president on either of those critical points. By a 23-point margin, 50 percent to 27 percent, independents said they disagreed that the president’s speech convinced them of a need for a wall, and by 45 percent to 32 percent, independents said the president’s speech did not convince them of a crisis at the border. Fifty-three percent of independents said it’s never OK to shut down the government, as did 50 percent of Democrats. Just 25 percent of Republicans, though, said the same.

Not helping matters for either side is that the leaders in this showdown are not viewed favorably:

  • President Trump: 42 percent favorable, 52 percent unfavorable
  • Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: 39 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable (20 percent don’t know)
  • Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: 27 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable (33 percent don’t know)
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Macedonian Parliament Approves New Name For The Country As Demanded By Greece


Macedonia’s parliament has approved changing the country’s name to North Macedonia, appeasing Greece and bringing the country one step closer to membership in NATO.

The change is the result of a dispute between Macedonia and Greece over history and national identity that has lasted 27 years.

Eighty-one of the 120 lawmakers in Macedonia’s parliament voted on Friday to approve a constitutional amendment to change the country’s name, NPR’s Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens. The remaining opposition lawmakers stayed away in protest, according to the Associated Press reports.

The change won’t be official until the Greek parliament approves it.

Opponents of the deal protested outside of the Macedonian parliament on Friday, responding to the vote with calls of “traitors,” AP reports. Conservative opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski told reporters the vote was “an act of treason.”

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev agreed to rename the country in a compromise with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipr last June. The proposed name change weathered protests from nationalists in both countries — and a referendum in Macedonia that failed to meet the turnout requirement.

Greece and Macedonia have been locked into a dispute over the name that dates back to 1991 during the disintegration of Yugoslavia, when the Republic of Macedonia broke away.

Greece already contained a region called Macedonia, which incorporates most of the territories of the eponymous ancient kingdom that was led centuries ago by Alexander the Great. Both Greece and its northern neighbor consider Alexander, and the name, integral parts of their identity, Kakissis reports.

Previous Greek governments have also claimed that the tiny Republic of Macedonia might use the name to make territorial claims on its province.

The disagreement has sparked protests on both sides of the territorial boundary and produced real consequences: Greece has blocked Macedonia’s entry into both NATO and the European Union. Greece had previously referred to Macedonia as Skopje, after its capital, or Fyrom, an acronym for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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How To Dial 911 From Space

Dial 911

Used to dialing 9 to call out when you’re at work? So are astronauts.

But that pesky, extra digit tripped up Dutch astronaut André Kuipers, when he accidentally called 911 from the International Space Station.

The astronaut was trying to dial an international number, he told Dutch public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, when he erred. Floating inside the space station, he made a mistake many people make in regular gravity — he missed a number.

“First you dial the 9 for an outside line, and then 011 for an international line,” he explained. “I made a mistake, and the next day I received an email message: Did you call 911?”

The 60-year-old astronaut hung up promptly when he realized his error, but the call triggered an alert some 200 miles below at Mission Control, in Houston. NASA security checked the room where the call was patched through. The astronaut, of course, was conspicuously absent.

He shared his slip-up in a conversation with the Dutch broadcaster about Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing, noting that it’s actually quite easy to call Earth from the space station these days — though there’s often a time delay.

Wayne Hale, who served as a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, tells NPR that astronauts in the International Space Station have been able to make calls as they please for more than a decade now. The phone system uses voice over Internet protocol, the same technology that lets Earthbound people place Internet calls over Skype.

Dial 911a

“A capability that was built into the ISS, with the rise of Internet phone calls, is the ability for the astronauts in the space station to just dial up anybody that they might want to,” Hale said. “Many people have gotten calls from space.”

Holly Ridings, chief flight director at NASA, has received plenty of those calls.

“You’re carrying your phone around and it’ll ring and it’ll be the space station,” she told Space Answers in 2013. “It’s really actually kind of cool, it never gets old.”

Misdials from space are nothing new. British astronaut Tim Peake once issued an apology on Twitter for a mistaken call.

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