The US government has begun a partial shutdown after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a new budget. The Republican-led House of Representatives insisted on delaying President Barack Obama's healthcare reform - dubbed Obamacare - as a condition for passing a bill. More than 700,000 federal employees face unpaid leave with no guarantee of back pay once the deadlock is over. Read more >>
The cartoon by Nate Beeler, editorial cartoonist for The Columbus Dispatch, uses a series of computing metaphors for the government shutdown. If you shut down your computer, you turn it off. You sometimes have to do this when it stops working. A common Windows error message is "Display Driver has stopped responding". The cartoonist changes this to "Government has stopped responding" and superimposes it on a desktop background featuring a picture of Congress. The spinning pinwheel, meanwhile, is a pointer in Apple's Mac OS X that indicates an application is not responding to system events. It is also known as the "rainbow wheel" or "color wheel", or, unofficially, as the Spinning Beach Ball of Death or the Marble of Doom. [source: Wikipedia]
See The Cagle Post for more cartoons on the US government shutdown. Clay Bennett also has a nice cartoon in the Chattonooga Times Free Press. And check out this one by Chappatte in the IHT, which illustrates the idiom 'pulling the plug'.