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The shutdown grinds on

It's day three of the stupidest political event of the past 20 years. Here are some reactions.

The Atlantic's Jon Judis likens it to Weimar Germany:

I wouldn’t expect the current crisis, which was precipitated by the descendants of Calhoun, to result in a civil war. The civil war, as Marx once wrote, was a revolutionary clash that pitted one mode of production against another. Nothing so momentous is at stake today. It also pitted one region against another, and it was fought with rifles and men on horseback. The largest effect is likely to be continued dysfunction in Washington, which if it continues over a decade or so, will threaten economic growth and America’s standing in the world, undermine social programs like the Affordable Care Act, and probably encourage more radical movements on the right and the left. Think of Italy, Greece, or Weimar Germany. Or think about what the United States would have been like if World War II had not occurred, and if Europe, the United States, and Japan had failed to pull themselves out of the Great Depression.

AVWeb points out that the shutdown has already suspended an aviation accident investigation, and could disrupt more:

Although air traffic controllers remain on the job, 3,000 support workers in the ATC system have been furloughed, says Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. The furloughs will delay the opening of a new runway at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and will delay the approval of safety-related equipment modifications to aircraft. "It is unacceptable that thousands of our aviation safety professionals have been forced to stay home due to partisan posturing in Congress," Rinaldi said. The NTSB also was immediately affected, as the go-team assigned to investigate the fatal Citation crash in Santa Monica was sent home on Tuesday.

The wreckage of the CJ2 will be stored in a hangar until investigators can return to continue their work, officials said. The safety board's usually-busy Twitter feed has been silent since Monday, and no updates have been posted to the agency's website. If the shutdown continues, it also may delay certification of Boeing's newest version of the Dreamliner, the stretched 787-9.

The shutdown will also delay the opening of O'Hare's Runway 10C-28C, which had been scheduled for later this month.

New York's Jon Chait makes the analogy to William Macy's character in Fargo, who aggressively stumbled into ruin:

Okay, first of all, is “Hostage Taking 101” an actual course of study taught to members of the Bush administration? Even if this is a metaphor, it seems like a problematic model for governance. Also, Thiessen argues that Obama will have to give concessions to avoid a debt breach because he cares about the loss of millions of jobs. That seems to imply that Republicans don’t care. After all, if Republicans cared just as much, Obama could be threatening to veto the debt-ceiling hike if Republicans didn’t give him concessions.

Boehner does not seem to share his party’s sociopathic embrace of hostage tactics. Boehner resembles William H. Macy’s character in Fargo, who concocts a simple plan to have his wife kidnapped and skim the proceeds, failing to think a step forward about what happens once she’s actually seized by violent criminals. He doesn’t intend for her to be harmed, but also has no ability to control the plan once he’s set it in motion. In the end, Boehner's Speakership is likely to end up in the wood chipper, anyway.

And finally, a tweet by Judd Legum that sums it up nicely:

Can I burn down your house?




Let's talk about what I can burn down.




We didn't need this

Just a reminder: John Boehner can end the government shutdown any time he wants to. No, really:

All Boehner has to do is bring a “clean” continuing resolution to the House floor -- that is, a bill to fund the government without any strings attached -- and give it a vote. Most, if not all, Democrats would vote for it, and enough Republicans are publicly now on board to pass it. The Huffington Post has been keeping a running tally of which Republicans have said they support doing this. Privately, more GOP lawmakers have indicated they would as well.

So why won't he? One theory, from the right:

A clean CR has never been an option. Peter King of New York and his allies may want one, but the leadership privately believes it’d almost certainly raise tensions within the ranks and cripple their negotiating position.

Instead, the leadership is digging in for an extended impasse with Senate Democrats. Based on my latest conversations with insiders, their plan isn’t to eventually whip Republicans toward a clean CR and back down after a few days of messaging the shutdown, as some have believed; it’s to keep fighting, and, in the process, preserve the House GOP’s fragile unity — and maybe, if they’re lucky, win a concession from Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

But that unity, more than anything, is critical for Boehner, especially as the debt limit nears. Per his allies, his fear is, if he brings up a clean CR, he’d be seen as conceding to Reid, who’s seen as the villain of villains within the House GOP. Thirty to forty conservatives would likely revolt against such a maneuver, and so would their backers in the conservative movement. In the press, he’d likely be cheered for a profile in courage; within the House, the decision would be seen by his critics on the right as a betrayal of the highest order. There is nothing they detest more than the idea of caving, and Boehner knows that.

In other words, they're high-schoolers at best.

At least not all of the shutdown's unintended consequences were bad.

House of Turds and ghost trains? Nah

Sullivan has a scathing piece about the Republicans shutting down the government again. And closer to home, apparently Chicago has phantom El trains that drive themselves right into other trains.

But yesterday's Atlantic Cities piece on bike-share etiquette is much more enjoyable to think about than either of those:

The central ethos is built into the name. "The whole point of it is it’s bike share, it’s not bike rental," says Kim Reynolds, the office and administrative manager in Washington for Alta Bicycle Share, which operates Capital Bikeshare. In Chicago, the network is called Divvy, which literally means "to divide and share." In Minneapolis and St. Paul, their system is called Nice Ride, a play on the notion that bike-share requires a certain quality that Minnesotans in particular possess.

Bad behavior is technically harder to achieve on a bike. You can’t leave trash in it. The bikes themselves are relatively difficult to damage. And penalties for hogging them are built into the price structure: So you want to take that bike and lock it up outside your office all day? That’s fine. You’ll pay $75 or so in most cities for the right. (Here’s how nice they are in Minnesota: If you do this without understanding the system with Nice Ride, customer service will call you up, gently explain they want their bike back, forgive you, and refund the charge the first time.)

See? Much more pleasant than the rest of the day's news. Or giant, deadly hornets. Better than those, too.