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A traffic report from the ‘cliff’

Near gridlock starting to emerge on the Beltway

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT

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“So, expect showers and gale-force winds over the next couple of days and don’t forget that high-surf advisory is in effect throughout the weekend. We may even see some downed power lines and scattered looting. That’s the weather here on Capitol Hill — now let’s go to Brandon with your Congressional traffic report.”

“Thanks Brandon. Well, its gotten pretty ugly out there, people. My best advice is, stay in your homes. As ex-pected, following the holiday recess, we’re seeing a lot of bluster and bombast building up on the Beltway, and the obstructionist blather has managed to stall headway on nearly every budget deal ramp to a virtual crawl.

“Three or four 18-wheelers jam-packed with Election Day rancor have overturned, and as you might imagine, rubbernecking has resulted in hundreds of not-so-tender fender benders in both directions. It’s gotten so bad that major media outlet trucks are stuck on the shoulder filming each other, filming each other.

“It’s not just the Beltway that’s backed up. Main Street and Wall Street and the Path to Prosperity all report major slowdowns due to a multitude of partisan pile-ups. Some drivers seem to be purposefully ramming fellow travelers right off the road, while others speed across median strips to dive into oncoming traffic seemingly with no thought to life or limb. Casualties continue to mount and officials worry about running out of tarps.

“Sky Nine over the Bridge to the Future reports that progress remains hopelessly clogged with all visible movement being of the backwards variety, and from their vantage all the right lanes look to be blocked as far as the eye can see. Left lanes: not much better. Center lanes: you don’t want to know.

“Many reasons have been offered up for Carmageddon spreading nationwide. Pure native stubbornness, leading to refusals to merge. Infrastructure deterioration. Widespread smoke screens creating low visibility. A plethora of misread signs due to intentionally misinterpreted polls. Death wishes. Insanity. Mad Cow.

“Part of the problem can be attributed to the numerous turnarounds closed by committee chairmen to restrict desertion from party-line movement, and reports continue to stream in that a crazy person by the name of Grover Norquist has been single-handedly impeding traffic by standing in the ditch and flagging motorists off the road straight into various freeway abutments. Although it must be said, some cars do now seem to be aiming right for him, chasing the anti-cheerleader back to the safety of various rest stop bathroom stalls.

“Due to the slick situation, eternal congestion and some inexplicable glitch that has turned all the surface street stop lights to red, further delays are expected to spread across the nation as the country experiences a massive impasse on all roads leading to the cutoff meant to avert the dreaded Fiscal Cliff.

“Veteran observers claim this activity is expected due to the mostly poor driving skills possessed by the residents of our nation’s capital. But the upshot is, we’re back to stalls and jams and near-total gridlock far into the foreseeable future. So remember to keep that dial here, where we bring you weather and traffic together on the eights, although to be perfectly honest, not much is expected to change any time soon. Back to you, Brandon.”

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The New York Times says five-time Emmy- nominated comedian and writer Will Durst “is quite possibly the best political comic working in the country today.” E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.

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