This week was dominated by the shutdown. It's as much a shutdown of the executive functions of the brain as it is of the government. A monument to monumental stupidity, it's also a shutdown of possibility, and of whatever residual trust the public still has in the American political system. Even those doing the right thing by fighting it were reduced by the sheer absurdity of the situation. All to try to reinstate a sequester-level budget that is itself horrifically self-destructive (note to media: the Affordable Care Act and sequester are the compromises, and bad ones, at that). That's right -- we've now sunk to a level in which the merely horribly self-destructive is a goal that seems out of reach. So our leaders play games instead of even attempting to address the real problems, like the roughly 20 million unemployed or underemployed Americans. That's for August. The September numbers weren't released on Friday -- because of the shutdown.