This is it, folks. The big day has arrived and neither side shows any intention of backing down. There's a very good chance that this government shutdown is going to happen.
I don't believe I've mentioned it before, but last year, I was appointed by my congressman, Charles Rangel, to the House Citizens Response Advisory Panel, a group designed to keep the lower house more in touch with the thoughts of everyday people like teachers, bloggers and Real Housewives fans. (Guilty on all three counts!)
Through my H-CRAP connections, I'm privy to some goings-on behind the scenes in Washington. And so, I'm a little better-informed than the average American about just what this shutdown might entail. Let me go over the highlights for you:
National Parks--A lot of people are, justifiably, concerned about what a shutdown would mean to our nation's Parks system. Not to worry: if things do come to a screeching halt tonight at midnight, our protected lands will not go unprotected. The Interior Department has allocated funds for one park ranger. He will be keeping an eye on all of our national parks on his own, so he's going to be very busy, but he'll be there.
The White House--Most of the White House staff will be furloughed if the shutdown happens. One interesting sidenote in all of this: there is a little-remembered clause in the Constitution that states that, in the event of a shutdown, the Vice President will fill in for the White House chef. Reached for comment, Vice President Biden has said he's actually excited about the prospect and plans to "...whip up some patented Biden Burgers! They've got cheese inside the burger!"
The Capitol Building--The Capitol's bathroom attendants are, according to my sources, not considered essential during an emergency such as this. Wisconsin congressman Jim Sensenbrenner expressed concern, saying, "Just who the hell is gonna fold my T.P.?" Some of the more strident "family values" members of Sensenbrenner's party seemed a bit giddy about an attendant-free bathroom, with J. Randy Forbes (R, VA) stating he plans to "Larry Craig it up," whatever that means.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--It has been decided that the CDC will be completely closed for the duration of any shutdown. Virologist Linda Strachen of the CDC in Atlanta was quoted as saying, "Yeah, we're pretty sure all that potentially species-ending shit we have in the basement will be okay while we're gone. I mean, we've got a padlock."
The Lincoln Memorial--As there will not be adequate staff to protect it during a shutdown, the statue of President Lincoln at the memorial will be moved into the garage until the government reopens.
This shutdown will be a test of our leaders and of ourselves. I think we're fucked.