Kafka in the Capitol

On Capitol Hill, senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are frantically working to negotiate a deal before the government shutdown becomes a government default. A few blocks away, in the Rayburn House Office Building, a small group of U.S. representatives is occupied with what Doc Hastings, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, has decided is an equally pressing task: Scrutinizing every barricaded road, traffic-coned scenic view, and chained-off Porta Potty in the National Park Service’s shut-down system.

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