Well, it looks like I'm going to have some free time this week, thanks to the hacks hard by the Potomac. You would think that even card-carrying members of the I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it generation would recall that everything about the US system of government, from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to the New Deal to Obamacare has been based on compromise. In a representative democracy, how could it be otherwise? But neither side - and let me repeat that: neither side - in this mess was interested in working to achieve a solution. It is very true that the republican-controlled House was talking shutdown weeks ago, and intended that as a threat to get what they could not achieve through negotiation. And as soon as the senate passed a Continuing Resolution (more about that in a moment) that was different from the one passed by the House, a Conference Committee should have been formed to work out the differences. Instead, the House passed the same bill again and the Senate, seeing poll numbers that showed the American people, by a margin of 59%-19% (the rest being undecided), would blame the republicans for any shutdown, decided to make political hay and so passed their same bill, and the two versions were batted back and forth multiple times until the clock ran out at midnight last night. Now, about that Continuing Resolution: congress has had all year to put together an appropriations bill for FY 2014 (which began today). They failed. A CR is merely a continuation of current levels of funding until congress can get around to doing its job. And because congress did not meet the deficit reduction targets it had set for itself nearly two years ago, the US government has been in a Sequester for a year, with across-the-board spending reductions that allow congress to avoid responsibility for any specific programs being cut - "Executive branch, nothing to do with me!" Congress excels at not doing its job. Republicans don't like Obamacare. Well, I don't much like it, either. A much more rational, efficient and effective measure would have been single-payor, structured much the same way Medicare is - a government program managed through private carriers. But the democrats didn't have the votes for that, so this is what we got. Now, the republicans have tried to overturn what they themselves helped pass, and it turns out they don't have the votes, either. In a democracy, when you don't have the votes, you live with it. According to the latest polls, Congress has an approval rating of 10% (lowest in history). And yet more than 90% are able to win re-election. The US has lost the ability to govern itself.