Here's a cheap mid-afternoon giggle for federal workers: A hot-off-the-presses White House proclamation declaring next week — when the government may be shut down — National Volunteer Week. It's that patented Hawaii dry humor, folks; don't try it at home.

Not that the president picked the week himself or anything, but it does offer a million federal employees something to do if they're furloughed. But "getting drunk at 9 a.m. everyday and not helping anyone" is probably still the most appealing option.

While we're here, let's look at the latest development in government shutdown news: House Republicans have tried to run for cover by passing a bill that would keep the government open for one more week at a ludicrous cost of $12 billion in cuts — much more than the $2 billion-per-week norm of the previous temporary extensions. Without making any progress on the fundamental roadblocks, of course. It would also fund the military for the rest of the year. You folks are smart; do you see what's going on here? Majority Leader Eric Cantor, for example, is on my television right now blaming Obama for putting our blessed troops in harm's way without pay if he doesn't sign this specific extension. He sent out a similar release earlier saying that "if the President vetoes this bill and shuts the government down, our men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world will not be paid." That Cantor boy always was a bad seed.

Obama would veto this extension if it ever reached him.

[Image via AP]

What Does a Government Shutdown Look Like? Part I
What Does a Government Shutdown Look Like? Part II