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Fury as mischief-making pols make the US a laughing stock

Things are different in America - still. Despite all the togetherness of the internet and super-easy air travel, you can even today be surprised (for good or ill) at what's going across the Atlantic. This blog, borrowing its title from the legendary Alistair Cooke, aims to keep you in the picture about things you might not otherwise know.

Liberty has been closed down for now

So does America have a red face today over the ludicrous Government shutdown? Yes it does - but not out of embarrassment - out of rage! Ordinary Americans , proud of their country's achievements, are furious at the humiliation the politicians have heaped on them. And it's really the Republicans who are getting the blame.

From outer space came a tweet that said it all. A Twitter account, which for two years has been providing detailed updates on NASA's Voyager 2 programme, announced : "Due to government shutdown, we will not be posting or responding from this account. Farewell, humans. Sort it out yourselves."

The Twitter account, which could not be confirmed as being run by NASA, was later suspended.

In New York the Statue of Liberty was closed until further notice. Huffington Post said the United States government had shut down, "America's most iconic symbol of liberty and progress with it".

In Yosemite, California Scotsman John Muir once persuaded President Teddy Roosevelt to back national parks. But he would have had no success yesterday. It was closed.

A group of tourists from France arrived by bus ready to explore the library of the revered president John F. Kennedy in Boston , only to be turned away.

At Faneuil Hall, also in Boston, where colonists plotted revolution against Britain from 1742 , visitors found shops open - but it was tough if you needed a pee. Tourists took photos of the handwritten signs informing them that the restrooms were closed.

The USS Constitution , the world's oldest warship afloat- which sailed against the Brits in the War of 1812 wasn't going anywhere yestyerday . It was closed along with the Charleston navy yard and hundreds of visitors were disappointed.

Parking lots and offices at the Cape Cod National Seashore, had signs that read, “closed due to government shutdown.”

Foreign newspapers were dismayed by the chaos brought about by America's politicians. The German press warned of severe consequences and even of another global economic crisis. “A superpower has paralyzed itself,” said Spiegel Online.

Die Welt warned that the shutdown put the world economy in danger. “The fear is real that the tender U.S. recovery will be damaged,” it said. Many Germans saw President Obama as being held hostage by what the Zeit called a “handful of radicals” unwilling to compromise.

Le Figaro, the right-leaning French newspaper, said that Americans were feeling increasingly alienated by the “political circus” around the budget impasse that was now threatening the country.

An exasperated employee of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., told the newspaper that he was both fed up and shocked at "this never-ending affront by Congress,. Voting for the budget is Congress’s job. This paralysis is unacceptable.”

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said he was on a conference call with White House officials and governors from across the country, “Democrats and Republicans, and everyone was frustrated and stunned, and wondering what happens to services for our most vulnerable citizens.”

Employees whose jobs have been declared essential such as food inspectors and air traffic controllers are working .

But with the shutdown in place, they are working without getting paid, and it is unclear if they will be.

“It’s just unfortunate . . . people plan their holidays,” said Laurie Bechtler, 55, who lives in California, as she stood outside the closed-down Great Hall in Boston.

The Woods Hole Science Aquarium on Cape Cod was closed. A spokeswoman for the aquarium, who was also furloughed yesterday, could not be reached for comment, however.

Her e-mail address sent out an automatic reply saying, “I am currently unavailable to take e-mails or phone calls due to the lapse in FY14 appropriations. If you leave a message, I will be unable to respond until an appropriations bill has passed and operations are resumed. I sincerely regret this inconvenience.”

America has probably the largest concentration of public relations professionals anywhere . Today the rest of the world is asking; "How could the politcians let this happen ? Do they not listen to advice from anyone?"