The shutdown is over. And so is the immediate threat of government default—after a handful of House Republicans forsook their Tea Party kin and joined nearly every House Democrat in backing a Senate-brokered "compromise" that actually gave the GOP none of the stuff it wrecked everything for. Not among the sane? Oregon's Greg Walden, who has previously admitted his craven fear of the Tea Party.
But the troubles caused by the past two-plus weeks of suicidal brinkmanship will remain with us. Republicans are badly beaten—and yet their nihilistic little rump is only more defiant about Obamacare and spending, promising to do this again next year when the next self-imposed crisis deadline comes up. The toll on the economy is a staggering and stupid $24 billion and a downward revision in expected growth. Things even got weird during the vote itself, when a House stenographer, in a mental health crisis, took the microphone to holler about the Masons and had to be escorted off the floor.
2014 could be brutal for Republicans—potentially putting the House in play for Democrats. Big business interests are very friendly with marginalized speaker John Boehner. And those business interests are plotting their breakup with the daffy Tea Party and seem ready to spend big, in next year's primaries, to kick their asses out of Washington or keep any more from showing up.
They can start with this Tea Party candidate from Idaho (admittedly just a state candidate) who is relying on Medicaid and other government programs yet also wants to get rid of Medicaid and all government programs. "Yes, I participate in government programs of which I adamantly oppose. Many of them, actually." (He does not, however, appear to participate in "grammar."
OH! ALSO! REMEMBER DRONES? Away from the shiny bauble of Washington bickering, and across the world where people are dying, there's been a slightly unsurprising yet very important revelation: Documents show the National Security Agency, the people who know your Facebook friends and how often you (don't) call your aged parents, have been deeply involved in helping the CIA target the people it kills extra-judicially in the sovereign nation of Pakistan.
Europe is furious about all our spying and is looking to slow the international data streams that allow NSA operatives to go overseas to hoover up information—a loophole that keeps it from technically breaking American laws against domestic spying.
NSA nemesis Glenn Greenwald's new gig, running a journalism outfit attracting some of the world's finest names in investigative reporting, will be seeded with $250 million from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Which seems like a weird answer to Amazon's Jeff Bezos buying up the Washington Post.
Diplomacy with Iran could be setting the stage for a major breakthrough, and serious concessions, over its nuclear program. The election of a more-moderate Iranian president—and targeted, strict economic sanctions, not bellicose threats of war—have led to the most earnest negotiations in more than a decade.
Corey Booker hopefully got a nice congratulatory DM from Lynsie Lee after trouncing a conservative Republican last night to become New Jersey's newest junior senator.
A shamed prosecutor has decided to maybe reconsider his decision not to seek felony charges in a Missouri rape case that saw the victim's family driven from their small town.
Steve Novick isn't the only municipal official on the West Coast contemplating the expense and political minefield involved in mandating retrofits for older buildings prone to collapse in earthquakes. Mayor Eric Garcetti, still new in office, is targeting Los Angeles' many old concrete buildings and whether to formally label them as risky.
If SNL wants black female characters, then the show will actually have to hire a black female comedian. What a curious concept. Kenan Thompson says he's done wearing drag until things are made right.
Yetis aren't fake. They might be descended from ancient polar bears.
MAYBE A YETI CAN BE NAMED MATTHEW AND THAT YETI NAMED MATTHEW WOULD REALLY LIKE SPACE AND ASTRONAUTS AND PLANETS AND IT WOULD BE THAT YETI'S BIRTHDAY TODAY OR ONE DAY SOON AND THAT YETI WOULD BE SO HAPPY TO SEE THIS AND FEEL REALLY SPECIAL AND LOVED OR SOMETHING. RIGHT?
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