There Is No Reason for Anyone to Be Happy About How the Shutdown Ended

American Flag as a brick wall

Shutting down the shutdown and avoiding imminent default was not like Idris Elba in Pacific Rimcancel[ing] the apocalypse.” Democrats making victory laps on the heads of irritated Republicans seems a bit premature, don’t you think? Talking point-fueled elation notwithstanding, the average person looking on won’t understand cheery partisan piston pumps when the $24 billion plus in damage is already done, not to mention the sting of a perennially uncertain political system. This wasn’t our proudest governing moment, unless governing by crisis is your thing.

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The Republican Party Is Sinking. And That’s Bad for America.

GOP Elephant sinking


Sixteen days after shutting down the government and less than 48 hours before pushing America into default, Republicans in Congress have finally abandoned their fruitless effort to preempt the lawful implementation of the Affordable Care Act and allowed the government to re-open and pay its bills.

I’m not sure exactly what convinced them it was time to fold; maybe it was their party’s historic plummet in public opinion polls, or perhaps it was the scolding they received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–a committed ally–for their intransigence on the debt ceiling issue.

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How to Fix ObamaCare and End the Shutdown

Ben Franklin surgical mask


Say, wouldn’t this all be easier if we’d simply passed a single-payer health insurance program?

We’ve spent several weeks now watching, first, the House of Representatives implode as it tried—and repeatedly failed—to force either an end to ObamaCare or, short of that, an end to parts of ObamaCare. (On Tuesday, it was the part that ensures women’s access to birth control that Republicans seemed most to want to end.)  That failure might be satisfying, except that the health insurance exchanges created by ObamaCare finally went online—and gave every appearance of also imploding.

It’s a bad situation all around, but it’s one that probably could’ve been mitigated considerably with a real government takeover of the America’s healthcare, instead of the complicated and frankly messy half-job we’ve seen so far. A single-payer health insurance program—everybody pays a health insurance tax, everybody gets health insurance from the government—would’ve solved many of the problems we see before us now.

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Are Normally Hawkish Republicans Endangering U.S. Security Abroad?

U.S. CAPITOL BUILDINGIt’s not at all clear if Republicans, especially those knee-jerking and red-necking in the House, have assessed that a government shutdown is having a massive impact on American foreign policy. The nation has been brought to an unnecessary and crumbling cliff—mostly because a small contingent of mostly rural, outhouse lawmakers want to make a point. But, beyond the domestic impact and future Constitutional crisis this will soon raise are the rather dangerous ramifications abroad.

Which is strange considering Republicans are quick to brand themselves as more hawkish and pro-defense than Democrats.

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City Tavern Reopens (Government Still Shut Down)


Despite the fact that the children running the government are still arguing over who gets the most cookies, it appears that Walter Staib and his City Tavern crew have negotiated a deal of their own which sees the historic restaurant (which is run through the National Parks Service) open and serving once again.

Just for the record, the shut down of this one restaurant put the entire staff out of work for nearly two weeks (but that’s cool, right? I mean every waitress I know is totally rich enough for that…) and necessitated the cancellation of hundreds of reservations and catering gigs. And the City Tavern people? They’re not even exploring the stars or tracking disease or approving new brewery licenses.

But whatever. Who needs that stuff. Meanwhile, a Capitol Hill slap-fight over health insurance financing and who has to pay the government’s credit card bill this month? That’s democracy in action.

City Tavern [official]

Federal Shutdown Has Local Breweries Sweating


Several local brewers are starting to see dark clouds on the horizon regarding the Federal government’s shutdown. Breweries are required to get a federal brewery license before they begin brewing for resale and all beer labels go through an approval process. And of course, none of that is progressing right now.

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This Weekend: The Meal Moves To Thomas Paine Plaza


Philadelphia is home to one of the largest art museums in the United States. Every day, buses pull up in front of it, hordes of people run up the stairs, and when they’re an easy walk to one of the most amazing collections of artwork anywhere, they raise their arms in the air, cheer like fools, snap photos, and head back down. Rocky might win in a cage match against Renoir, but Philly is a town big enough for both of them.

This weekend, to mark their 30th anniversary, the Mural Arts Program is celebrating with a piece that brings art out of the museum and into the middle of Center City. The event is a collaboration between Mural Arts and Studio Orta, artists Lucy and Jorge Orta, and it is called 70×7 The Meal, Act XXXIV. It will be a piece of visual and performance art wherein 900 participants gather at long tables enjoy a meal prepared by Chescaphe Event Group of a menu designed by Mark Vetri. The meal itself will feature locally-grown, heirloom produce and the event  is meant to draw attention to issues of heirloom foods and biodiversity, and to stimulate conversation about creating a healthier food system.

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Government Shutdown Forces Closure Of City Tavern


No, seriously. This is straight from the City Tavern’s PR company. Dig it:

We regret to inform you that City Tavern Restaurant is temporarily closed due to the federal government shutdown. Concepts By Staib, Ltd has been authorized to serve the public at City Tavern by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, since 1994. The building and property are part of the National Park Service. As a concessionaire of the park, it is firmly stated that Concepts By Staib, Ltd, operated by Chef Walter Staib, is required to close during the federal shut down until further notice.


As soon as this is resolved, City Tavern will open and be fully operational. In the meantime, we apologize for your inconvenience. We regret this lapse in business and hope it is short lived. The entire staff of City Tavern is looking forward to being open and serving the public as soon as possible.

So let me get this straight. You’ve shut down NASA. You’ve shut down the Grand Canyon. You’ve shut down the CDC and the National Parks Service and furloughed pretty much everyone I know who works for the federal government (while still collecting paychecks yourselves, of course). And now you are limiting my ability to dress up in pantaloons and a ruffed collar and go drink tankards of beer in Old City with weird German tourists?

Not cool, Congress. Not cool…

City Tavern [official]