Google doodle says Happy Birthday Yosemite; Feds say: You’re closed

I’m not saying it’s a jinx or anything and if Google wants to honor you with its daily home page doodle, I wouldn’t turn them down, but….

Today’s doodle: a colorful acknowledgement of Yosemite National Park’s 123d birthday. Today’s status at Yosemite: Closed. Yep, a victim of the idiocy in D.C. that has resulted in the U.S. government being shut down because a faction of the Republican party can’t get anybody to kill a three-year-old law seeking to provide health care to more Americans.

Google says they weren’t out to make a political point. “The timing today is an unfortunate coincidence,” a spokeswoman said in an email. And here’s the blog post explaining the company’s thinking.

Honestly, I didn’t think the doodle had gone all political. The Google doodle thing is practically an industry unto itself. This stuff is planned out, planned out better than the federal budget.

Here’s a pretty long video (Ted Talk, you know) about the doodlers from Google’s head doodle guy, Ryan Germick.

And here’s a vintage column of mine from a time when doodling at Google was a simpler pursuit.

Anyway, whatever Google’s motive, I think it’s fantastic that this unharmonic convergence — doodle vs. idiots in Washington — is upon us. Our best chance of stirring up some real outrage over political moves that might well cripple the fledgling economic recovery and cost taxpayers billions, is to focus on the national parks and on the fact that nobody can go to them.

My colleague Paul Rogers writes about that notion here.

The truth is, parks — think Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Muir Woods — are awesome (in the real sense), inspiring, transformative and apolitical. The rock-ribbed Republican and the granola-chomping Democrat can walk the South Rim side-by-side and stare in wonder at the Grand Canyon’s rock formations.

Radical tea partiers and liberal medical-marijuana partiers can stand shoulder to shoulder staring up at the Statue of Liberty and share the feeling of a lump growing in their throats.

Parks are a big, bold reminder, scattered throughout every state in the country, that those who refuse to fund the government (of the people, by the people etc.) really could care less about us.

And so, I say, doodle on Google; doodle on.

(Photo at Yosemite National Park by Mercury News photogrpaher Maria J. Avila)


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  • InconvenientTruthsYouHate

    “because a faction of the Republican party”?!!? Are you trying to sell the idea that the Democrats and their “my way or the highway” stubborn attitude and petulant leader have **NOTHING** to do with this? Are you trying to claim Obama never said “I will veto ANY bill that touches the ACA” — a clearly uncompromising stance? No, sir! The Ds are every bit as responsible for this mess as the Rs. Quit pointing fingers from your glass house.

    • Mike Cassidy

      I was tempted to go the “both parties are equally responsible” route, but it’s simply not an honest assessment. The shutdown lies squarely at the feet of the Tea Party (and at Speaker John Boehner’s inabiltiy to pull his House members together). House Republicans have had opportunites to pare back or kill Obamacare (dozens at last count) and those attempts failed. It’s not the will of the current Congress (nor does it appear to be the will of the people, judging from the polls I’ve seen).
      Attaching those demands to a continuing resolution is a cynical and destructive move, as a number of Republicans have pointed out.
      Am I disappointed in Republicans and Democrats alike? Sure. Are they equally culpable on this particular issue? Nope.

      • InconvenientTruthsYouHate

        You say it matter-of-factly, but I don’t buy “squarely” for one moment. Obama and Senate Democrats have have been given ample opportunities to compromise on many different subjects, and they consistently take a “my or or the highway” stance. Aside from all the spin to pretend that it isn’t so, it is the democrats who are the real “Party of No” in this matter and many others. Look at the recent history of “wills” and “will nots” coming out of Obama’s mouth, and the spiteful party-supported get-backs when he doesn’t get something his way.

        Now they are extorting the entire nation with a faux shutdown that doesn’t affect the truly costly overhead items, or the domestic spying, or their own salaries (of course), but instead target citizens’ comfort and happiness by closing down small-potatoes items like National parks and monuments. Look up “Washington Monument Syndrome” because that’s exactly what’s going on here. Obama, the Democratic Party representatives, and a large chunk of the media **wanted** this shutdown to happen so they could invoke the Republicans and Tea Party “boogeyman” for it, even though it was they, the Dems, who have been consistently intransigent, and throwing out the options placed on the table by the House. “Squarely” here is pure spin.

        As for your comments on “the will of the people”, I’m not at all surprised that you would legitimately believe what you’ve said about it… Your perspective of who “the people” are, and what they want, is heavily skewed by existing within a major metro area that is not only heavily liberally biased in the first place, but is also one of the more well-off such metros in the nation, enjoying low unemployment, and a healthy, high-paying core industry. But outside such bubbles of confirmation bias there are a lot of people who are struggling, who disagree with the ACA over legitimate concerns (not the least of which is that nobody actually read it), and who are — if they even have a job in the first place in this still-poor economy — already experiencing employment hours reductions (the employers avoiding having to provide coverage), and the prospect of increased cost for decreased service. Their stories are out there if you look for them in places with less confirmation bias.

        The true “will of the people” has been largely ignored by politicians for a very long time now. They do only what they think serves themselves and their party best, not what the people want or need. And then they “tell stories” to get (re)elected, and then go back to their same old games.

        So like you, I am disappointed in Republicans and Democrats alike, but unlike you I happen to find them equally culpable for this mess. Saying “nope” doesn’t make you correct; it merely underscores our differences of opinion on the matter. My perspective comes from living for years both inside and outside of the bay area’s bubble, and seeing what’s really happening to “the people”.

      • Bodhisattva

        You are absolutely right about the fact it is NOT ‘both parties are responsible’, the Democrats are 100% responsible. Obama will negotiate with anyone who’s using his foolishness to plot the destruction of America, but he won’t negotiate or even discuss things with those who are trying to save us from complete financial meltdown. The California Democrats were caught on a live mike openly plotting to create a crisis they could blame on California Republicans and use as leverage to not only stay in power but expand their reach even as it was obvious it was their dominance in California politics that was 100% responsible for the mess we’re in here. Obama is doing the same thing on a national level with the collusion of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and others.

  • Chris

    Google may not have been out to make a political point, but obviously, you were. You make a good point in commenting National Parks are apolitical, but then crudely wrap politics around them with your caricatures. This article wasn’t smart, or funny, just very slanted. One of your worst.

    • Bodhisattva

      Plus deceitful. At this point it doesn’t matter if he knows he’s lying or not, the effect is the same.

  • Bodhisattva

    This article represents just the sort of nonsense thinking that is why we’re in the mess we’re in right now, as evidenced by, “because a faction of the Republican party can’t get anybody to kill a three-year-old law seeking to provide health care to more Americans.” The reason the government is shut down is the ridiculous tax-and-spend mantra of the Democrats, the demand that we prove the ‘debt limit’ is meaningless because we just raise it over and over every time we approach it. Mike Cassidy ignores the fact that exemption after exemption is demanded – if the fatally flawed health care law is so good, why are so many who supported those who passed it demanding they be exempt?

    The Republicans are not even demanding enough, actually – their efforts amount to only slightly slowing the rampant increases in spending, not really making spending cuts that are vital to the future of our nation. You want to see a hockey stick? Check out how spending exploded when Obama had a rubber stamp Congress.

  • TheOriginalChuckie

    Meanwhile critters throughout our National Parks cheer and hope they stay closed for a long time.