Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown (again) this week, underscoring the dysfunction that has become the status quo in Washington these days. In her New York Times column, Gail Collins takes lawmakers to task in her usual way: with searing sarcasm. “Think of all the things you’ll be able to din October if there’s a government,” she writes. “Camp out in a national park! Mail a letter! Fly to Omaha without fear that your plane will crash into a plane fling to Sioux Falls because of a lack of air traffic controllers! Wage war in Afghanistan! Life doesn’t get any better than that.” Of course, there’s a catch: a temporary funding bill is supposed to pass the House in an empty chamber on Thursday. If a single Representative shows up to object, the bill dies and the government shuts down. House leadership is reportedly working to convince the more “free-spirited” Tea Partiers in Congress to let the bill pass. But while the progress looks promising, Collins isn’t exactly heartened. “Ever lower goes the bar,” she laments.