Phew! Head Start shut down but Gym for Congress Members is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

PaulRyan_620_101112Let freedom ring! Only in America, ladies and gentleman. USA! USA! Great news guys! You may have heard that the government shutdown GOP decision to shutdown the government because it really doesn’t want people who aren’t wealthy to have access to health care, means that non-essential programs like, say, early education for children, cancer treatment, domestic violence services, salaries for government workers are on hold. But, thanks to the leadership and orders of John Boehner,  certain very essential things, sacred things, cannot be touched by a government shutdown. Like the exclusive House Member’s Gym, which provide members of Congress with a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. I’m pretty sure that’s what the Founding Fathers meant by inalienable rights. I mean “among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But I’m sure if they had more scroll paper and  if ink hadn’t been so expensive, they would have taken the time to add in treadmills, flat screens etc. And of course, the power needed to heat the pool and turn on the lights and the money for maintenance and to staff the gym.

But, lest you think these Republicans are being frivolous, please note that they have very judiciously closed down the gym where their staffers pump iron. And, these House representatives are truly representing their constituents. Just as regular people suffer the consequences of the government shutdown, the members of congress are suffering from cut backs in essential services like towel service. These more men and women must literally carry a towel with them or risk sweating uncomfortably or air drying… possibly to death. And life is not easy for Senator Lindsey Graham who has complained that the senators’ gym is “rank.” You know what they say: “It will be a great day when senators and members of congress get all the money they need and cancer patients and under-served pre-schoolers have to hold bake sales for chemotherapy and education.” Until then, a girl can dream.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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