Mic Check: The Dirty Secret Behind the U.S. Government Shutdown

1. Why You Shouldn’t Expect a Compromise On the Government Shutdown Anytime Soon
 
Don’t get your hopes up about a compromise on the government shutdown anytime soon. The Pentagon has decided to bring 350,000 employees back to work and the House has voted unanimously (no, I’m not kidding) to pay furloughed workers when they return. This is great news for government employees and the economy, but it also means Congress won’t feel much pressure to strike a deal on the budget. And to make matters worse, the leaders in Congress are sticking to their guns: House Speaker John Boehner says he won’t approve a budget or raise the debt ceiling unless Obama puts off his health care law.
 
The dirty secret of the government shutdown – it was in the works for months (NY Times).
 
Everything you need to know to get caught up on the government shutdown (WaPo).
 
 
2. This Incredible Photo Sums Up Egypt’s Violent Protests
 
Egypt on Sunday suffered one of its bloodiest days of protests since the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party in July. At least 51 died and over 250 were injured at anti-government protests marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Reporters say police attacked protesters with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood without being provoked, while civilians refused to shelter the peaceful demonstrators. One photojournalist snapped an incredible photo of a fearless demonstrator that sums up the day’s events.
 
• This millennial journalist risks his life to photograph Egypt’s violence – his audio slideshow will make you feel like you’re there (BBC).
 
The Egypt riots look bad, but they’ve got more support than you think (PolicyMic).
 
 
3. These Raids Point to the Future Of U.S. Counterterrorism
 
The U.S. launched two raids over the weekend that give us a look into the future of counterterrorism. In one operation, U.S. forces captured a notorious Libyan militant who planned bombings on two U.S. embassies in the ‘90s, but a second mission to Somalia was less successful: Navy SEALs failed to take out the Al-Shabab commander they were after. It’s possible the SEALs’ target had a hand in the recent attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, but the U.S. is probably trying to weaken Al-Shabab because of the group’s ties to Al-Qaeda. The raids could point to the future of U.S. counterterrorism: quick, targeted strikes on high-level commanders.
 
These are the six jihadi groups Americans should be worried about (PolicyMic).
 
 
4. We’ve Finally Started Destroying Assad’s Chemical Weapons – But it Won’t Make a Difference
 
International monitors began destroying Syria’s chemical weapons on Sunday after weeks of negotiations, but it probably won’t make a difference in the country’s bloody civil war. For one thing, the mission’s timeline is optimistic at best. The goal is to destroy all of Bashar al-Assad’s stockpiles by next year, but the dictator has stashed his weapons at 50 sites across the country and it’s taken the U.S. 28 years to get rid of our chemical stockpiles. The mission won’t turn the tide in Syria’s civil war even if it is a success: Chemical weapons are responsible for 2% of the 100,000 casualties in the conflict. It’s a good thing the U.S. is making a difference by resettling Syrian refugees.
 
Why U.S. intervention in Syria could save more lives than you think (PolicyMic).
 
 
5. An Astronaut Gives His Take On the Space Thriller Gravity
 
All the talk leading up to the release of Alfonso Cuarón’s space thriller Gravity wasn’t for nothing: The film raked in $55.5 million in its opening weekend – that’s the biggest October opening of all time. The film has been getting buzz for its jaw-dropping special effects, and for good reason. The movie’s special effects team created a massive Light Box and a complex wire rig to replicate the conditions in space. But how accurate could they really be? It turns out they did a pretty good job. A veteran astronaut says they nailed it.
 
What are Gravity’s chances at the Oscars? (Hollywood Reporter)
 
• Even if you haven’t seen Gravity, you’ve probably seen something by Alfonso Cuarón – he directed one of the Harry Potter movies (PolicyMic).
 
 
DESSERT
Did shutting down Silk Road make the world a more dangerous place? (Atlantic)
 
This father found an innovative way to punish his son for bullying (PolicyMic).
 
• The science behind procrastinating – and how to stop (Brain Pickings).
 
 
Thanks for reading!
Nick
 
What do you think about the topics in today’s Mic Check? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @nicholascbaker.
 
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