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Opening Arguments

Something's rotten

Oh, forget those whiny World War II geezers wanting to visit their memorial, or all the national parl shutdowns, or the death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers, or drug trials to aid dying children. Now this shutdown has caused real hardship:

Washington, DC - The first government shutdown in seventeen years has had a dramatic impact on First Lady Michelle Obama's world-famous Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn, currently bursting with more than thirty kinds of vegetables, including Presidential pumpkins awaiting harvest just in time for Halloween. 

In the eleven days since the shutdown began on Oct. 1, the pounds and pounds of ripe organic bounty have gone to waste.  The vegetables filling the 1,500 square-foot plot are now rotting away on the vines and in the boxed beds, thanks to the mandate for "minimal maintenance" placed on the skeletal crew of National Park Service gardeners who remain on duty at 1600 Penn. 

Aww, did you think she was doing all that gardening herself? White House garden rotting away. There's a meatphor there somewhere, I swear there is.


Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:33am

And here's a few really rotten items:

1.) Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) was among those Republicans who made his way down to the World War II Memorial in the opening days of the shutdown. When he found a Park Ranger doing her job -- which, at the time, included controlling the crowd at the technically closed memorial -- the congressman blamed her for the closure he voted for, and told her she should be ashamed of herself.

2.) Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) has a nice house, and in an interview this month he let everyone know that it was part of the reason he wouldn't be giving up his constitutionally protected $174,000 annual salary amid the shutdown.

"I've got a nice house and a kid in college, and I'll tell you we cannot handle it,  giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That's just not going to fly." Earning it? Really?

More than 100 lawmakers have decided to donate their paychecks to charity amid the shutdown, which has left hundreds of thousands of people largely without control of their economic wellbeing. Terry later apologized after his comments caused an outcry, and he said he'd have his paycheck withheld.

3.) Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), in a display of compassionate conservatism, to offer some financial advice to furloughed workers worried they might not be able to pay bills thanks to Congress. Here's his Facebook post on the matter, which was quickly taken down:

4.) Critical government services have been slowed or shuttered by the shutdown, but don't worry, your representatives can still get in regular workouts at the congressional gym, thanks to House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) decision to keep it open. The House gym comes packed with a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs, and taxpayers are still footing the bill for regular cleaning and maintenance, as well as electricity to keep everything running.

Lawmakers also still have access to a Capitol subway system that shuttles them the short distance between the House and Senate office buildings and the Capitol building itself. You won't get your meat inspected but the Tan Man insures members of the House won't lose any perks paid for by the taxpayers.

5.) Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) pointed out some real pain and suffering in a recent interview, when he deflected calls for the gym to be closed amid the shutdown by noting there weren't even clean towels in it. Times are tough everywhere congressman.

"There's hardly anybody working down there. There's no towel service, we're doing our own laundry down there," he said. "And we pay a fee to belong to the House gym. So this is no different than if you're working for an employer that offers a wellness program. You pay a fee to belong, that's what we do there."

Other lawmakers have also complained about the gyms getting disgusting with only a heavily depleted staff on hand. Perhaps the remaining staff could do like corporations do, work four people's jobs for no more pay and donate free time to the company to be able to get all the work done.

6.) And finally there's our boy Marlin with this Solomon -like quote "We're not going to be disrespected," Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."