|I shut down the reptile house first because I wanted to start|
small. Next time I'll try the government.
Q: What happens when the government shuts down?
A: Some services are suspended, some people don't get paid, and you may not be able to visit national sites of interest, although that last part may just be a ploy by Nic Cage to get his hands on some treasure.
|Some politicians just turn to more easily obtained|
street drugs, which are actually less harmful than
A: Nothing changes related to the politicians. It's business as usual for them. Finger-pointing, speeches, suits - all that continues uninterrupted. However, some government workers are literally not allowed to work, which includes not using their Blackberries. Faced with this situation, many government workers are compelled to score 15-20 seconds of Blackberry usage on the street, at around $40 a pop. The street name for this activity is "Berry Buzzing," or sometimes just "Berrying." You may also hear it referred to as "Raspberrying."
Q: How does the government get itself out of a shutdown?
A: This isn't entirely clear, but what we do know is that some more speeches are made, some papers are pushed around, and at some point Donald Trump and/or Ted Turner probably get involved.
Q: Is it true that governments shut down because of too much filibustering?
A: Yes and no. To answer this question you have to first understand what it means to filibuster.
Q: What does it mean to filibuster?
A: The filibuster, originally named after Phillip Buster, a politician from the 1800's, is a tool or trick used by savvy politicians to stall government proceedings. In this sense, filibustering can lead to government shutdowns because they simply waste time. In an effort to stop a bill from passing, a politician will take the podium and begin speaking. Depending on the stamina of the politician, the speaking can last for days, or even weeks, and as long as a politician has the floor they can't be told to step down. As a result, a filibuster can bring the wheels of progress to a grinding halt.
The record length for a filibuster is 3 weeks and 4 days, set in 1968 by Lawrence Augustus Xavier, a Senator from California who liked spending time at home rather than in Washington, but who was in such high demand for his filibustering skills that he was practically on-call for the party and basically ended up living at the airport, constantly waiting for the next flight out.
The reason that a filibuster may not lead to a government shutdown is because not all politicians are as skilled as our friend Lawrence, and when a filibuster backfires it can actually speed up the pace of government. The prime example of this phenomenon comes from 1937, when Representative Kilgore Ferdinand Crumb of Kentucky tried to employ the oft-used trick of simply reading from the phone book at the podium. As Crumb read through the phone book he happened to come across the name of an old girlfriend, and stunned by the coincidence decided to call her on the spot from his cell phone (this was still technically part of the filibuster). The old girlfriend agreed to a date, but being a registered member of the opposing political party demanded that Crumb meet her for the date right then. Moved with emotion, Crumb agreed, thus ending the filibuster and providing the necessary opportunity for the debated bill to pass.
Q: You said that the filibuster was named after Phillip Buster, so why doesn't the word "filibuster" begin with a "ph"?
A: For the same reason that a lower-case "s" looks like an "f" in olde timey writing.
Q: You also said that a politician called an old girlfriend from his cell phone in 1937. I think you're making up some of your facts.
A: That is not a question, but admittedly, we're a bit off track. Let's get back to the government shutdown...
Q: Will a government shutdown mean that this blog shuts down too?
A: No. Fortunately, this blog does not rely on government funding to operate. All revenue for the blog is obtained through the hard work of my Grassroots Fundraising Department. One of my staffers from the GFD will have to answer specific questions about how funds are raised, as I don't like to micro-manage, and therefore don't know about everything they do. I think it might involve selling Blackberry hits on the street though.
Q: Why are taxes still coming out of my paycheck if the government is shut down?
A: Remember how FAQ sheets are supposed to verify that you aren't thinking of dumb questions? Well, this is actually a dumb question.
Q: Is there anything I can do to help the situation when the government shuts down?
A: Yes, there is always a role for you, the individual concerned citizen. First, you can remain calm. But not too calm, because really, occasionally getting hysterical is what life is all about. Second, go get yourself something nice. When things shut down, you have to live in the moment a bit and say to yourself "Well, if nobody is working, then I may as well kick back for awhile." Go shopping, go out to dinner, whatever floats your boat. Spending money makes you feel good, and will take your mind off the impending doo.....er.....makes you feel good. Third - and this is the really important activity - you can share the information you've read here with your family and friends to help ensure that the maximum number of people are educated about the issues. Seriously, go ahead and spread it around. I need the readers.