"YOU MANIACS! You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

So. Yes. The government is shut down. Talks in Congress accomplished squat last night after a nascent third party within the Republican Party, even more purely conservative than the regular GOP, decided killing Obamacare and other extortionist feats were more important than giving the government money to pay its bills. It's not that Speaker of the House John Boehner couldn't muster votes for an honest budget bill. It's just that if he did, defying his party's radicals, he might lose his job.

The grand irony is that the House tried to bait Democrats in the Senate by forcing them to vote against a poison pill stripping away their own fancy government health care benefits. Turns out some Republicans in the Senate were among the loudest critics... once their House colleagues decided to treat them as shabbily as they'd like to treat every other American. "Representative Chris Stewart, Republican of Utah, said members were standing to say they had sick children who would be hard to insure, or they themselves would struggle to buy insurance, either because of their age or their health conditions."

It's cute how so-called "fair" news organizations presume there are two sides to this story, that Democrats and President Obama—because they've decided not to indulge in theatrical brinksmanship—might share some blame. That's stupid.

So far, the Almighty Markets don't seem to have flinched too much—easing immediate fears that a stalemate over the national budget will choke off the thin rasp of post-recession economic growth.

Also? Obamacare is going live no matter what—making this whole stunt by the Tea Party extra silly. The website offering enrollment options went up this morning, despite the shutdown. "You can't shut it down," the president said yesterday.

The economic sanctions driving Iran and the United States into a tentative diplomatic relationship of half-hugs and text messages—restrictions put in place over Iran's nuclear ambitions—have done far more damage than previously acknowledged.

Israel's not too keen, however, on seeing its international bodyguard sidling up, even awkwardly, to its biggest international nemesis. Something about "an onslaught of smiles."

The jihadists sharpening their craft during Syria's long and bloody civil war have begun exporting their handiwork to previously pacified provinces in Iraq, among other places.

Now the new pope says the Vatican is filled with "leprosy" and that the Roman Catholic Church ought to rely less on the princes running its palaces and more on the people who shuffle in on Sundays to fill the pews. They're really going to have him killed now, aren't they?

A massive explosion terrified everyone at the University of California-Berkeley—until they realized it was caused by clever tweakers who inadvertently caused major damage to the school's power grid after stealing a whole mess of copper wire.

Three-hundred people left homeless by Hurricane Sandy are being kicked out of their government-paid hotel rooms, now that a judge has backed FEMA's decision to cut off the subsidies. Where will they go? Who knows. Some have homes still too damaged to live in, while promised repairs lag. Others will need to be placed in public housing.