Friday, April 8, 2011

Jackass, The Government

Updates at the end of the post


As some of you may (or not) have noticed, I’ve been offline almost all week.

There was a reason for this.

It began with the worst migraine I’ve had in years.

I’ve gotten migraines most of my life, but these days they are usually manageable and rarely incapacitating.  Every once in a while, I get one that for some unexplained reason kicks over into a headache that is much more severe.  I spent most of Sunday night, in between bouts of Olympic caliber vomiting, sitting on the floor of my kitchen with my head between my knees wishing that I’d just die and get it over with.  Honestly, I thought my eyes were going to explode out of my head like the cork from an over-pressurized champagne bottle. Most of the pain was gone by Monday evening, but I was nauseated and my hands shook until Wednesday. 

It’s four days after the peak today, and the inside of my head still feels like the filthy urine crusted linoleum floor of a skid row dive bar restroom.

In retrospect, I should have realized that evil headache was a harbinger of things to come. 

The sickening agony in my skull set the perfect tone for  the rest of this week as we careen madly towards a shutdown of the US Government like those idiots from Jackass, The Movie plummeting at breakneck speed downhill pell-mell towards disaster in a giant shopping cart whooping and hollering and gibbering like crazed baboons unable to foresee the consequences of their stupidity. And I dare you to find a better analogy for the current US Congress than the cast of Jackass, The Movie – honestly, can’t you just see John Boehner shooting-bottle rockets out of his ass while Harry Reid chokes down snow-cones saturated in his own piss? No? Maybe it’s just me.  There are four hundred million Americans – and these five hundred and thirty-five jackasses are the best we can do.

Tonight, unless a compromise is reached in the next few hours, the Government of the United States will shut down.

What does that mean?

Well, it means that our republic has failed. It means that we are too damned petty and petulant to avoid cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

What does it mean to you and I personally?

It depends.

At first, on Monday, the effects will be small, noticeable primarily in the places where the Federal government interacts directly with the public. 

Note that the key word in that previous sentence is “noticeable.”

Behind the scenes, things start to go pear shaped pretty fast.

Today, a rather vocal minority (emphasis on tiny minority) are dancing gleefully in the streets, determined to teabag the rest of us while they rub their beer bellies together and brandish their misspelled signs, screaming, “Shut it down! Shut it down!”  These morons are an abject example of why our Founding Fathers designed a republic instead of a nation ruled by an enraged mob made up of ignorant selfish assholes too damned stupid not to sit around watching  grown men shoot bottle rockets out of their asses while drinking their own piss.

See, it’s the things that aren’t immediately noticeable, the bitter results of the law of unintended consequences, that these simpleton jackasses are missing.

Let me give you an example: 

If the government shuts down, starting Monday, you won’t be able to apply for a passport. 

Oh, you can still fill out the paperwork at your local post office, but it won’t go anywhere until the government starts back up.

No big deal, right?

I mean, most of the America, Fuck Ya! xenophobes who think a government shut-down is a good thing aren’t exactly planning on travelling outside of the United States anyway. They’ve never left America, and they never intend to,  they know everything they need to know about the world from watching FoxNews and the Military Channel.  So, a bunch of dope smoking liberals can’t get passports to visit their socialist French butt-buddies? So What. Big deal, boohoo cry me a river. Right?


There’s a bit more to it than that.  The federal government processes between twenty and thirty thousand passport applications per day.   Let me repeat that for the tea drinkers, that’s twenty to thirty thousand passport applications per day.  As you might imagine, the folks who do this are a bit busy and can barely keep up with the demand – which is why it takes a couple of months to get your passport after you’ve applied for it.  Try to imagine what the backlog will look like after a week of government shutdown, two weeks, a month.

So, here’s the first unintended consequence of shutting down the government: Overtime.  Overtime and lots of it – because you, the taxpayer, are going to have to pay to clear that backlog, and pay you will, sooner or later, double and triple time.  And it doesn’t end there, because, see, those passports are vetted by a number of agencies, from state records offices to the State Department to the Department of Homeland Security. You’re going to be paying for a lot of overtime. 

But that won’t be the only way you pay.

See, only a relatively minor percentage of those passports are for vacation travel.  The majority of those applications are for business travel.  The inability to get passports will have a direct impact on American business at all levels, from hiring to investment to sales to legal actions to speculation to purchasing and on and on. It will directly affect all business, big and small, from tiny specialty coffee buyers to the huge multinational defense contractors, from the recovering American car industry to Wall Street.  And it works the other way too, see the same government agency that processes your passport application also processes foreign visa applications – so those folks coming here from other countries to invest in our business, to buy our products, to pay tuition in our schools, to shop in our stores, to spend their money in our country – well, they’ll just have to wait too, and maybe they’ll just go somewhere else instead. And that has yet more impact on our badly battered economy. 

But wait, as they say, it gets better. 

Those missionaries your church was planning on sending down to the Caribbean to show the Haitians how to make potable water and shelters from Jesus? They’ll have to wait.  In a government shutdown, even Jesus gets screwed.

Those disaster relief teams that were supposed to bring aid and supplies to Japan?  Looks like the Japanese will just have to suck it up.  Maybe the Russians will help them.  Maybe the Russians will help us, since the folks who monitor those radiations leaks will also be home sitting on their hands (don’t worry about it, you’ll still be able to log onto a government website and get hourly updates on the spread of radiation and… what? Oh, heh, heh, sorry looks like nobody will be updating the webpages either.  Well, ok, go ahead and start panicking. Here, breath into this paper bag). 

How about those military families that are planning on joining their spouses overseas?  Too bad for them if they don’t already have passports and entry visas, looks like they’ll have to wait too.  But hey, it’s not like they’re actually getting paid either, so really thanks for the double dry hump.  Don’t worry about it. Folks in the military and their families are used to getting ass raped by patriotic Americans, we wouldn’t expect anything else.  Maybe you can stick another yellow ribbon magnet made in China on the back of your SUV to make up for it, that would be really helpful.

That’s is just the tip of the iceberg.

Passports, like polar bears, are an indicator species, warning flags of impending catastrophe.

Most Americans have no idea of where passports even come from and couldn’t name the agency responsible for issuing them if you exercised you 2nd Amendment rights and jammed a gun in their ear. You fill out a form at the post office, turnover your picture, pay your money, and a couple of months later your passport shows up in the mail.  Viola! That process, performed by an army of unlamented government employees somewhere in the bowels of the State Department is one of millions of functions that will cease tonight when the clock strikes the witching hour in Washington D.C. 

Those functions affect your life in countless ways.  Here’s a few examples:

- Delays in the federal permitting process will impact construction of new interstate pipelines and transmission lines that directly affect long term energy prices, or worse might delay construction of new projects to replace ones like that 40 year old natural gas pipeline which failed so spectacularly in California a couple of months ago.  Think about that.  But, heck, don’t lose any sleep over it, those other 40 year old high pressure gas lines, like that one running through your neighborhood, those are probably OK. Probably.  Ditto bridge inspections, don’t worry about those either.

- Oh, and ditto those permits and environmental reviews you need for that off shore drilling you’re so enthusiastic about.  By the way, if those permits don’t get approved during the right time of year, i.e. now, well then there won’t be enough time to start the project before winter comes in the north and hurricane season in the south. Maybe next year. 

-  Civilian Intelligence specialists will be furloughed, unless they are directly involved in the war efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya.  What does that mean? Well, it means that those Intel folks involved in political and economic intelligence collection will be doing odd jobs around the house on Monday – instead of working on gathering, processing, and disseminating the vital information our nation needs to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy. But, hey, maybe the rest of the world, including our buddies in China and India, won’t take advantage of the situation, maybe they will just stop and wait for us to get our heads out of our asses.

- Here’s one I particularly like: nearly all Indian reservations in the United States fall under the cognizance of the US Federal Government.  Schools there are federal schools. Those will shut down.  Trash pickup is a federal function, if the contract isn’t already paid nobody is going to pick up the garbage.  Drug and substance abuse programs will cease.  Food and assistance will cease. Housing construction will cease. In some cases, law enforcement may stop.  These people get fucked by Congress even more than those in the military.  But hey, at least they can take comfort in knowing the Tea Party stood pat on principle.

- You better hope you don’t need help filing your federal income tax this year.  There won’t be anybody answering the phone at the IRS. But, you know, you still need to file on time, though I wouldn’t recommend you do it via paper. Not if you’re in a hurry anyway.

- Remember those military families?  The soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardsmen will still be able to get medical care at their local bases, but their families won’t - unless it’s an emergency. Oh, you didn’t know that most of the medical services provided to the military at home are done by civilians these days? Well, yeah, it seems that a lot of military medical personnel are off to war, but that’s just a detail, I’m sure they’ll understand.  Boy, the hits just keep on coming with that one, don’t they?  No pay, no passports, no support, and no medical care for their kids, but don’t worry folks, the war will go on as scheduled. Hoorah!

- The good news is that Social Security is still funded and the checks will still go out, so no need for the Greatest Generation to cancel cable and miss Glenn Beck or have to pass on that Tea Party rally tonight.  So, that’s good. I’ll check back in two weeks when Medicare turns off, see how things are going then.

- Three hundred and ninety-four National Parks, National Historical Sites, and other facilities run by the Park Service will shut down.  That’s not just vacation spots, folks, that’s your kids education.  That’s those field trips to the Smithsonian and the Grand Canyon and the Lincoln Memorial.  Be sure to thank the Tea Party for that too, won’t you?

- The EPA? Nobody cares if they shut down, right? Except, funny thing, they’re the folks who clean up toxic spills.  Better hope there isn’t one in your neighborhood because during a shutdown they have to stop the clean up.  And for every day that goes by, a little more of that crap leaches just a little further into your soil, a little closer to the water table that your kids drink from. 

- The Air Traffic Controllers will still show up for work – but not the people who run the coffee stands and the sandwich cart and clean the toilets and empty the trash at those big regional FAA control centers.  Boy, I hope those controllers aren’t distracted by the overflowing toilets and garbage cans.  Naw, I’m sure it’ll be OK, they’d never leave just one guy in the tower at Reagan National while the other guy on duty has to drive over to Concourse D to get a couple of croissants and some coffees from Starbucks. And speaking of things that slam into the ground at five hundred miles per hour, anybody want to guess whether or not the FAA inspectors who make sure Southwest Airlines’ aging fleet of 737’s don’t peel open at 30,000 feet like a tin can full of strawberry surprise will be on the job Monday? You might want to pay particular attention during the pre-flight safety brief next week, just saying, especially that part about oxygen masks and evacuation slides.

I could go on and on, but the important thing here is that we make sure Planned Parenthood doesn’t perform a couple of $90 abortions for welfare mothers, and it’s perfectly moral to stomp and scream and throw a tantrum until the Tea Party gets its way in this matter. How bad the shutdown gets, and how it affects each of us, primarily depends on how long the childish self-absorbed jackasses in Congress decide to hold the rest of us hostage.  And make no mistake at all, that’s exactly what this is, a hostage standoff.

They say you get the government you deserve.

I know, I know, I hear ya, nobody deserves this. 


Folks, take a look around.  When you have a country where the majority steadfastly votes along party lines instead of in their own best interest, when the majority steadfastly refuses to actually educate themselves on things that actually affect their own lives, when they see the world through the lens of TV pundits, when they believe the world is only 6000 years old because a bunch of Bronze Age sheep herders said so and the government blew up the World Trade Center and the President is really an alien reptile in a rubber human suit, this is exactly what you get.  And you deserve it.

George Washington hated political parties, he said they served only to turn brother against brother and he was absolutely right. 

At least half of this country does only what their political party tells them to do and most have no idea how their own government even works.

Today, I’ve received at least three dozen messages from people who seem to think that federal law and the Constitution can be overridden with a few “Likes” on a Facebook petition.  Folks, every single person on the internet can sign your electronic petition – but Senators and Representatives will still get paid, and they will continue getting paid until somebody either repeals or modifies the 27th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Period. You’d do yourself a big favor by spending a bit more time learning how your government works and a little less time forwarding useless chain mail around the internet. Better yet, you’d do yourself an even bigger favor by not voting for selfish grandstanding assholes in the first place.

Speaking of chain mail, please, quit forwarding me those “Click here if you think our military should get paid during a shutdown” letters. Seriously.

I’m not going to sign them, for two reasons:

1) They don’t work. They might make you feel good, but you’re not doing anything. See the bit above regarding Congressional pay.  You can be all the outraged you like, but until you change the law when the government shuts down so does military pay.  That’s just how it is.  You might want to give that some thought, perhaps while you’re on the way to your Tea Party rally where you and your friends will be shouting “Shut it down, shut it down.”  Just saying.

and 2) Because if you smoke, you get cancer.  That’s right, assholes, lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.  Demanding that we fund military pay while shutting down the rest of the government is just like eating a big box of jelly donuts and then bitching when you get fat.  Actions have consequences. If you feel so strongly about this that you will not compromise, you will not budge, and you will force the shutdown of the Federal government because you think you have a God given mandate to hold five hundred million of the rest of us hostage, then you should damned well have to live with the fucking consequences

Shut it down! Shut it down! 

Fine, go ahead, shut it down.

Don’t compromise. 

But you, personally, explain to that young military wife why she can’t get a passport to follow her husband to an overseas assignment, you explain why she can’t make the rent this month, you explain why her husband should fight and die for democracy while you, Mr. Honorable Representative, spit right in the face of it because you can’t seem to understand that democracy is about compromise. You explain why we’re six months into this fiscal year, at a point where you should be working on next year’s budget, and you still haven’t done your job.  Don’t try to blame the President – you have to get a bill in front of him first, something yet another large bunch of Americans don’t seem to understand - until there is a bill on the president’s desk he’s just a cheerleader.

No, I firmly believe that if the government shuts down, then the military should not get paid. 

You want an easy out?

Fuck you. You’re making this bed, you lay in it.

If you feel that God is on your side, that you have a mandate from all the citizens of America and not just those Tea Party assholes you love so much, then you step the fuck up and put your man-meat on the chopping block, see if the voters cut it off.

But, if you really believed that you’re right, well, then you wouldn’t need a get out of jail free card.

Would you?


Update 1:  Folks, I appreciate the advice, I really do, but let’s all assume that I know a little something about migraines and that I’ve seen a doctor or two or three.  It’s not a tumor. Really. I’m good.

Update 2:  About an hour after I published this post, Congress reached a deal on the budget.  Looks like we’ll avoid a shutdown for now. However, I’d caution you that the real budget fight, the one for 2012, begins now. Still, this deal shows that both sides can compromise if they really want to and the Tea Party can kiss all of our asses.


  1. I am a Philosophy Professor in a small college in the middle of the country. This past week I taught Political Philosophy to my students. In each of my classes of 32 students, I had ONE student who could tell me what type of government we have in this country. That is an improvement over the previous semester, when NONE of my students in any of my classes could name the type of government we have. While they know NOTHING about our government or our constitution, they do have a firm belief (downloaded to them by their parents perhaps, or more likely, from wikipedia), that our president is the devil and that he is trying to steal their money. It is often a struggle for me to go to work...but I keep going...and I hope you will too! Glad to see you back!

  2. Jim, please have your doctor or an urgent care center check you for signs of a stroke, as an extremely debilitating migraine of that duration *can* be, but is not necessarily, a sign of stroke. You and your doctor are familiar with your migraines and their patterns, of course--I'm just speaking as the conservator of a sister who ignored her worse-than-usual weeklong migraine before her stroke.

    My mother had sinus headaches, my father's were tension, but my sister and I, and my husband's family (and him, and our son) all get migraines, some worse or longer than others.

    I understand, but I worry, too.

    At this time, it seems that there's been some agreement, for the next six days, to keep the govt afloat.

    What is it with Republican legislators (at the very least) that makes them want to punish women in denying them healthcare, especially reproductive healthcare, and especially for the poorest women? Sure, the IRS has nothing better to do than to audit the returns of women who *might* have had an abortion.

    Sure, all the non-Christian and only nominally Christian women in states where they want you to receive "spiritual" counselling aka fear tactics, are going to be suddenly swayed to complete a pregnancy that will harm or kill them, or will doom some fetus, when born, to severe illness/pain for the rest of their lives, no matter how short--and possibly at taxpayer expense!

    Me? I'm done with all that reproduction stuff, and I'm Wiccan, so I'd be laughing in their faces and citing refutations from medical journals (not that the latter would change *their* minds, either).

    Fury towards GOP/Tea Party grandstanding, which is affecting tens of millions of people of this country, is growing in my mind.

  3. Don't forget the sociopolitical overtones of this shutdown, signified by the Republican's insistence on the defunding of Planned Parenthood (which is already prohibited from spending federal dollars on abortions). This is not about a balanced budget. This is about ideologues forcing their minority view on the republic at large

    Perhaps I'm over-reacting, but there is rage gushing from my ears. If rage were an oil-like substance, I'd have a minor air-strike around the vicinity of my shirt-collar, in an attempt to liberate my earlobes from the rest of my ears.

  4. I agree with you; it seems, for the moment, that some sort of kabuki on the budget has taken place, but if they want to stop things on principle, they need to have principles. It's gonna hurt me (I suspect my Disability Compensation isn't funded the same way SS is), and it's really gonna hurt the guys on the GI bill. They won't be hit for tuition, but they won't get their living allowance.

  5. "These morons are an abject example of why our Founding Fathers designed a republic instead of a nation ruled by an enraged mob made up of ignorant selfish assholes too damned stupid not to sit around watching grown men shoot bottle rockets out of their asses while drinking their own piss."

    Thank you for my morning laugh! So, true!

  6. OK first let me second what IslayMs said. The worst headache I have ever had, with me sitting on the can with my head below my knees was followed a few hours later by a stroke like incident (an Arterial Venous Malformation incident) which left my right side paralyzed and 25 years later still shows deficits when tired.

    And do not assume that a non Neurologist will recognize these symptoms or even the stroke. I was in the hands of a Cardiologist quack for three days before a Neurologist ran across my records and visited almost as my wife checked me out AMA.

    Second, and on the subject of the post. While I have no particular like for Reid, don't bad mouth him in this case. He has been doing the correct thing. Personally I would like to have seen far less cuts and I'm not happy with the Federalists dictating to a local government that they can't perform a legal act with their revenue, but that is what courts are for.

    The social reactionaries, those smiling old white men (for the record I'm a white male in my 60s) who think women are at best third rate people, smiling for the camera on this and similar subject must be stopped. I'm simply glad Obambi grew a pair at last and hope they last.

  7. Thanks, Jim. I am frankly appalled at how little the current Congress seems to care about the consequences of their actions, and this piece really brings to light what those would be.

    I agree with your ending comments as well - I think now the really big budget battles will begin. As Rep. Eric Cantor stated "This is not a budget, this is a cause.". I find that to be incredibly unfortunate.

  8. Great news!
    Now that their all warmed up playing budget trade games, they can all get together on Monday and start working on the 2012 budget. Bwhahahahahaha.

  9. Mr. Wright - glad to hear that you are feeling better. Great post, as usual.

    “There are four hundred million Americans – and these five hundred and thirty-five jackasses are the best we can do”.

    Hammer, meet Nail.

    As long as voters allow themselves to be swayed by pandering blowhards offering sound bite solutions to complex problems, We The People will continue to witness such incompetence as has been demonstrated in this situation.

    In defense of the ignorant masses that buy the happy horseshit these idiots dole out, we “Real Americans” are just too busy doing the important things (watching NASCAR, drinking beer, watching NASCAR, drinking beer…) to be bothered with educating ourselves about the issues that face our country. And besides, ain’t that Glenn Beck’s job, anyways?

    As Juvenal famously noted “"the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddle no more and longs eagerly for just two things — bread and circuses."

    Will you just look at the time…gotta go; They’re having a Monster Truck Marathon on the Redneck Channel, and I need to make a beer run before it starts.

  10. Thank you for expressing in words what I think in many of your posts. I get in so many discussions with people and have such a hard time responding extemporaneously. I know what I think - but how to say it? That can be challenging.

    I appreciate your articulation and your spine. I think you speak for more people than you realize.

  11. After reading a few comments - I have more input. I can't in good mind place the blame solely on the minority of Republican congressfolk who teabag. There is blame to be spread all around - especially with those who don't stand up and bark back at these guys. Sure, these folks exist, but not nearly enough.

    I wish Congress would grow up and realize what responsibility means.

  12. I am so pissed off at Congress I wanna go all Cee Lo Green on 'em.

    Seriously, Paul Ryan can spend the next twenty years in a non-union coal mine. Preferably one run by Massey Energy.

  13. Jim,
    I don't get migraines (thank you, thank you!), I get
    sinus infections. You remember that scene in "Aliens"
    when the creature is starting to rupture out that guy's
    stomach? That's what my sinuses feel like. And then
    an elephant comes and sits on my head. Just to make
    me feel alive.

    Glad to hear your feeling better, isn't it amazing when
    the pain stops? Makes you appreciate every second.


  14. Hi, the link to this blog was just cross posted over at politicalgates and we love you!!

    just the right wit, and sarcasm (same migraine as I found myself with last night) - you have a terrific sense of humor and you deserve kudos for your humor interspersed with snark.

    You're right of course. The loons are now officially running the asylum - and if it wasn't serious, it would be gobsmacking hysterical.

    Please keep up the good work - I'm tweeting you and you really deserve kudos from all the sane people that still remain trying to breathe in this country.

  15. God, I really needed to read this today. What an embarrassing, appalling spectacle we just witnessed! Actually, I learned a lot reading this--I just got my passport in the mail three weeks ago for a trip in June, and didn't understand or appreciate how much it takes to make that appear in my mailbox, so I feel rightly scolded for being lazy and unappreciative, too. (Glad you are feeling better.)

  16. Crap, that was supposed to be Rand Paul not Paul Ryan.

  17. I for one will believe there's a budget agreement when the votes are cast and the bill is signed. Until then it is all theatre.

    Dr. Phil

  18. Thank you Jim for your post. I have checked out your site a couple of times a day to see if you were back on your feet. I have never had a migraine, so I can't even imagine what you have gone through, but glad you are better. I have put your site on my FB because I didn't know how to join yours or if you even had a FB page. I love your writing, makes so much sense. I have a friend that is military and they were really bashing President Obama, especially about the pay freeze, which was debunked and I sent them to the article that debunked it, and still they wouldn't believe it. They blamed this budget battle and possible shut down on him too. I was just sick to my stomach reading some of the comments, I did answer some of them, but the head was ready to explode. Thanks again for your post.

  19. Anonymous,

    You can follow this site a couple of different ways:

    1) if you have a google or blogger profile, you can click "follow" on the righthand side of the main page at "Google Friend Connect."

    2) You can subscribe to the RSS or ATOM feed by clicking on the badge under "Subcribe" on the main page.

    You can find me on facebook by click on the Facebook badge, also on the righthand side of the main page.

  20. First off, be gentle with yourself in the wake of the migraine. I get them too, and they suck! My dad had a usual rant about the potential government shutdown being all the Democrats and Obama's fault...All I could think was exactly, almost verbatim, what you said. Let it shut down - actions have consequences! If they can't pull it together enough to compromise, then they deserve to face what they have wrought. (and no, I didn't vote Republican, or Tea Party, my hands are clean. Although, I've a few Democrats that I think ought to get yanked up and shook until their teeth rattle too...)Thats hard for me to say, btw, my step son is a Marine, with 2 small children, my grandchildren. I have concerns to say the least...
    I was particularly struck by one point you made, that we have a Republic. Well, yeah. Duh? Next point...except that I know so many people that don't get that. They think we live in a pure Democracy. And they don't understand the difference. And if they understood the difference, they would be horrified, and loathe the idea of our being a Republic. Even though every time they get choked up reciting the pledge - you know, the one that starts out, "I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the REPUBLIC for which..." they have no clue what they are pledging their allegiance to.
    *facepalm* indeed.
    In fact it appalls me how few individuals understand the idea of an oath, or of allegiance, or covenant...small wonder you have a migraine. I suspect its symptomatic. Take a break from politics, grab a beer,and go shape some wood. Smell the wood shavings. As Opus would advise from Bloom County..."Dandelion Break!" Blessings.

  21. A couple of sites which may be of interest:

    "An Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution"


    and "The Authoritarians"


  22. "this deal shows that both sides can compromise if they really want to"

    I absolutely love your blog, and every word of every post! However, I don't believe this bit, in your last offer, is accurate:

    "this deal shows that both sides can compromise if they really want to"

    Check this: tinyurl.com/4xf4o5e (DKos budget "compromise" post)

  23. So sorry to hear about your migraine. People who have never experienced one just cannot understand how completely debilitating they can be. I've spent many a day curled up in the fetal position, dark sheets covering the windows, ice pack on my head, moaning pathetically and waiting for my head to explode. A few years ago I was getting them about once a week but, fortunately, a side effect of a medication I'm on for something else is that my migraines are reduced to two or three a year (woo hoo!). Now that I'm able to eat 7 days a week instead of 5 or 6 I've put on some extra weight, but I'll gladly take that in place of the moaning and vomiting! Hope you're feeling much better now.

    Thanks for the wonderful post and for pointing out how imbecilic the right wing is for wanting to shut down the government for a purely political reason. The current crop of Republicans absolutely disgust me with their contempt for anyone who's not a white, male, wealthy campaign contributor. I'm equally disgusted with the idiots who put them in office, against their own interests and those of the vast majority of people in this country. But, like Pavlov's dogs, they hear those magic words (abortion, gay rights, illegal immigration, social programs) and they're off to the polls to effectively slit their own throats.

  24. Good to have you back. My work environment is chock full of people who think the solution to our Country's problems is to stick their heads further in the sand. If I have to hear one more regurgitated Beckbaugh quote, I might have to exercise my 2nd amendment right to protect myself from ignorance. Damn, apparently I don't have that right, sigh.
    I have my own rating system, this line is now in the yertle position.

    "can’t you just see John Boehner shooting-bottle rockets out of his ass while Harry Reid chokes down snow-cones saturated in his own piss"

    Your posts help keep me sane.
    Thanks again.

  25. I keep trying to wrap my head around just how badly off the rails we appear to have gone as a country. (No wonder you got such a migraine! It's enough to drive anyone insane.)

    I've been on the fringes of the DC political scene for longer than I care to admit. When I was a teenager, my father was a lobbyist and I had summer jobs on the Hill. Later, my mother worked for a congresswoman, and I worked as a reporter for different trade magazines.

    The change in tone is staggering, and frightening. I'm beginning to wonder if the United States is going to come apart in my lifetime.

  26. About migraines: Being a sufferer and a doctor who treats people who have migraines, I want to suggest you investigate oxygen. Inconvenient to lug a tank around, but if you have one at home when you first notice onset, breathe O2 at 5 liters/minute for about 15". Has been shown to abort 70% of attacks in 82% of patients. And if it doesn't, no harm as from medications. Have to get a Rx from your provider for the tank, etc, but go ahead and try it.

  27. Jim, I’m glad that you're feeling better, hope that the effects of your migraine completely disappear soon.

    I remember the last government shutdown I was active duty Navy at the time serving in San Diego. The command that I worked at had a combination of active duty and Navy civilians providing training, equipment repair and inspections. They sent almost all of the civilians home and extended the working hours for the military. So much for that cushy shore duty they promised me (not that I believed any of their promises, fool me once and all that). If I remember correctly, I got paid 2 days late since the government was only shut down for 26 days, but man was I ever so worried about where I was going to get money for my bills! So I watched those fools with signs shouting, “Shut it down!” with complete amazement; I thought to myself, “How could anyone be so dense?” Is this country being run by anarchists? Since I still work for the federal government (yeah, still getting my paychecks from DON, DFAS) I was rightfully concerned. Then I read that NWCF (Navy Working Capital Funds) were not affected as long as they were in the black. Whew, that means I don’t have to transfer money out of savings to pay the mortgage. What a relief that is. I also didn’t have to cancel the vacation plans I have to visit my mom on Mother’s Day since I’d have to cancel my vacation plans so that I could be furloughed. There are precious few businesses in America that would remain un-impacted by a government shutdown, don’t people realize this?

    Since the majority of Americans do not agree with their social agenda, they want to shut it all down, and then use their obstructionist techniques so that the minority can dictate their way with the majority. To me this shows that they care a lot more about their agenda than they do about the good of the majority. It’s been quite apparent to me that they haven’t cared about the majority’s opinion for some time now.

  28. "There are four hundred million Americans – and these five hundred and thirty-five jackasses are the best we can do."

    I feel the same way about every Saturday Night Live cast, save one, since the original.

    Congress is a result of 30 years of government bashing and rendering impotent the people's government, except the ideologically overreaching and authoritarian parts that is. I mean, Jebus! What is with the masses ignoring, even actively supporting, the worst aspects of government policies while trying to destroy what is best about our government?

    Why is it the loudest flag wavers want to do in the government? And government employees suffering 30 years of government employee bashing? Well, they are fellow American citizens; all of whom pay taxes from those paychecks!

    Maybe not only the federal government, but state governments too, should all just up and shut down for awhile. "So people, y'all are really down on your goverment? Okay then, do without it for awhile. Let us know when it hurts enough that you're willing to pay for it and will refrain from incessantly undermining it at every turn."

    Isn't it interesting that government schools, which is what public education K-12 is, no longer turns out students who know anything about how their own government works? How'd that happen? I guess in-depth government studies went the way of Home Economics so anyone born since 1980 stands a good chance of knowing zilch about his or her own representative government or how to manage household funds to stave off the rapacious finance industry.

    This feels like the 1980s all over again with the anti-woman, anti-family policies spreading hateful lies and rhetoric against the most defenseless among us and women. This time, though, in addition to the usual overfed, pompous white men in suits, we also have the result of the last 30 years, which is Tea Party types and religious zealots entrenched throughout the system and voted in to office too.

    Frankly, until we have a major revolt and fundamentally change the way elections are funded in this country, I see no hope of saving ourselves. Currently, few own almost everything and therefore those few also own our government and the media. Our democratic system can't survive that anymore than any other country's could.

    As for the courts saving us, well, they've been stacked at regional and federal levels with conservative ideologues. Reagan started it, and little Bush's administration took it to a whole new level.

    Add to the recipe a public fed a steady diet of Nancy Grace buffoonery, reality judge shows, and God knows how many prosecutor/cop shows (all from the prosecution point-of-view) and we find ourselves suffering judges who don't know what their real responsibility is supposed to be versus supporting and imposing their conservative desires because they have almost no roadblocks calling them out over it. Instead, we are a nation divided, petty, and meanspirited. The other guy is always wrong and always deserves it, so good for the courts no matter what they do to us! "The man" is always right. Unless the man is a lower-level government employee; then he or she is just a leech.

    Blaming the Dems and Obama for the showdown? I read the whitehouse press conference from the day before high noon and the questions those reporters asked, over and over again, painted the president as the problem. Those reporters are either stupid or they had an agenda, because I understood the answers the first time they were uttered, and I understood that the Dems had already given the Republicans 80% of what they'd asked for, so it was the Republicans' turn to do a little compromising. Perhaps the fact that our mainstream press in DC is either owned by rightwing money or serve only to seek controversy that will sell their stories are a major part of the problem as well.

    We are on the fast track to Mike Judge's Idiocracy.

  29. To Anonymous Philosophy Professor, bless you.

  30. @beemodern,

    we ARE Judge's Idiocracy.

    Brought to you by Carl's Jr.

  31. I've noticed a lot of people suddenly have long lasting migraines. My tinfoil hat says could this be because of the minute amounts of radiation wafting over the US and elsewhere and you all are the canaries. I have felt queasy for several weeks at a low level for no reason that I can determine.

  32. I'm a grad student, just another dumbass who didn't smile pretty enough to have a real job by now. I'm studying International and Comparative Politics, and I spent that week absolutely shitting myself thinking of how hard Brazil, India, China, Russia, and the EU would be laughing if we'd shut down.

    I want to get a job in the State Department. That way I can work overseas and hopefully be in an embassy somewhere where the coffee is art, the healthcare is sane, and they don't mind some white guy with a funny accent moving in when our nutjobs-elect finally run this thing into the ground.

  33. Wow! Great post. Except for the glancing aside on Harry Reid, whom I admire and think is working hard for us, I loved what you had to say. There is nothing more stupefyingly infuriating than people who do not understand how completely dependent we all are on each other.


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