For at least one minute every morning, the Senate has to listen to Barry C. Black, the Senate chaplain, as he offers up his daily prayer. And Black, a former Navy rear admiral, has been taking advantage of that fact. For the past week, as the government shutdown has dragged on, the morning invocation has been more like a reprimand for the lawmakers, the New York Times reports. Sample line: "We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness, and our pride. Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable."
Black, who has been in the nonpartisan position for 10 years and won't say what his own political leanings are, has at least succeeded in getting the senators' attention. After he mentioned lawmakers' "stubborn pride" and "blunders" in Friday's prayer, an apologetic Harry Reid acknowledged that the Senate hasn't been very gentle or compromising of late. And apparently the House of Representatives is taking notice, too: It has its own chaplain, but invited Black to give Friday's invocation. In other Senate theatrics, C-SPAN2 probably owes Ted Cruz a thank-you note: His 21-hour non-filibuster caused a fivefold jump in the cable channel's ratings from the day prior, the Times reports.