Amidst all the quarrelling and grousing that have enveloped Washington since the government shutdown's start, one segment of power has remained largely quiet and little impacted.
Lobbyists are still on the job, meeting with lawmakers, pressing their positions on one bill or another, and undertaking business as usual -- except with federal regulators or other executive branch personnel sent home by the shutdown.
For example, a vice president of Aspen Skiing Co., who was part of a delegation of athletes and outdoors industry leaders, told the Denver Journal that his group met in person after the shutdown started next week with four senators, and noted a California congressman set up a news conference for them in the Capitol.
And the American League of Lobbyists successfully used its clout to stomp a bill by a Democratic congressman from Rhode Island that would have banned lobbyists from congressional office buildings.
"We urge (Rep. David Cicilline) to remember that all citizens, even lobbyists, have a First Amendment right to redress their grievances," Monte Ward, the league's president, said in a statement.
Speaking of the First Amendment, America the litigious already is taking to the courts -- or planning to -- to contest assorted elements of the shutdown and its enforcement.
It was the threat of a lawsuit by the American Center for Law and Justice on First Amendment grounds that led the National Park Service to relent and allow veterans on the World War II Memorial's site. The NPS has expanded that protection to the National Mall, where an immigration rally was held Wednesday, and to Washington and Philadelphia parks that have a history of holding First Amendment events.
Even so, aggrieved citizens already are planning to file challenges to the closing of other facilities, as well as to fines they've received for, among other things, jogging or just congregating at one federal property or another. One issue: Do park rangers have the legal authority to do what they're doing.
Don't be surprised if private proprietors of restaurants or hotels on national park lands sue because they were forced to close. And the Internet is filling up with invitations to join class-action suits targeting assorted grievances, including against Congress for getting paid when other federal workers aren't.
12:14. That is when time apparently stopped Wednesday outside the U.S. Senate chamber.
The famous Ohio Clock, a nearly 200-year-old timepiece that stands 11 feet tall, ran out of steam then because of the furlough of the worker whose job it is to wind the carved-wood antique, complete with a brass eagle on top, according to the Roll Call newspaper.
No one is quite sure how the clock got its name. Senate lore holds that lawmakers of yore stashed whiskey bottles inside it.
The latest woe befalling military families because of the government shutdown is the suspension of relocation. That is leaving some families stranded and unable to move to their next duty location in what is called a "permanent change of station."
Even worse, they are stuck where they are even though all their household belongings already are on the way to their next post, according to Military.com.
(Contact Scripps Howard News Service editor Lisa Hoffman at email@example.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)