Well, bad news gaming addicts, Xbox LIVE is temporarily out of commission. We received a deluge of tips this morning from readers saying the service is down and now Microsoft has updated its support page confirming the outage. The cause behind the issue isn't clear yet, but the fine folks in Redmond are aware of it and actively working on a fix. User accounts are inaccessible from both the console and Xbox.com, but hopefully things will be back up and running soon, and you can return to your regularly scheduled programming of underwear-clad Black Ops II.
Update: And everything is back to normal. Our short lived national nightmare is over.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]