Slate's Joshua Keating indulges in some clever speculative fiction: how would American media report on the shutdown if it were taking place in another nation? "The capital’s rival clans find themselves at an impasse, unable to agree on a measure that will allow the American state to carry out its most basic functions," he writes. "A young fundamentalist lawmaker from the restive Texas region, known in the past as a hotbed of separatist activity," led the "rebellion."
Activity in the legislature ground to a halt last week for a full day as Ted Cruz insisted on performing a time-honored American demonstration of stamina and self-denial, which involved speaking for 21 hours, quoting liberally from science fiction films and children’s books. The gesture drew wide media attention, though its political purpose was unclear to outsiders.