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China—America’s biggest creditor—says the paralysis in Washington proves the free market has failed. Turkey’s Prime Minister gloats because US government workers aren’t being paid. Countries that depend on the US for protection wonder if it will be there when they need it. We’ll look at the message the shutdown and the debt-ceiling crisis are sending to the rest of the world. Also, Janet Yellen assumes the head of the Federal Reserve, and why the Higgs boson is the subject of the Nobel Prize.

Banner image: Rep. Keith Ellison
Making News Yellen’s Path to Head of Fed 7 MIN, 44 SEC

President Obama has decided that Janet Yellen should replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. She’s the current vice chair and, if she’s confirmed by the Senate, she’ll be the first woman ever to lead the most powerful central bank in the world. Binyamin Appelbaum is Washington Correspondent for the New York Times.

Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times (@BCAppelbaum)

Main Topic Political Dysfunction in Washington Hurting the Economy and American Credibility 36 MIN, 44 SEC

With government offices closed, the Pentagon says it won’t pay death benefits to the families of combat casualties. Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett compares failure to raise the debt ceiling to “a nuclear bomb.” How long can the US government lead the free world if it can’t keep its doors open or pay its bills? As Republicans and the White House hint at potential fixes, how long are they liable to last? Is there any permanent solution?

There’s a slight crack in the political pavement today from two influential right-wing advocacy groups. Heritage Action and Freedom Works are still adamant about keeping the government shut down until Obamacare is de-funded. But both say that refusing to increase the debt ceiling is going too far. President Obama says his Treasury Secretary is running out of emergency powers. Speaker Boehner responded that the President is demanding that Republicans “capitulate” before talks can begin.

Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics (@dismalscientist)
Clive Crook, Bloomberg View (@clive_crook)
Ron Brownstein, Atlantic / CNN (@RonBrownstein)
Robert Draper, New York Times Magazine / National Geographic / GQ (@DraperRobert)

Today's Talking Point The Higgs Boson Wins Physicists the Nobel Prize 6 MIN, 38 SEC

Scottish physicist Peter Higgs says he’s sorry the Higgs boson was ever called the “God Particle.” He’s an atheist.  But the term helps the rest of us understand just how important the Higgs boson is to understanding how the universe works the way it does—in fact, how it is that we all exist. 

The Higgs boson is a particle that was finally discovered last year by the multi-billion dollar Hadron Collider on the border of France and Switzerland.  1500 Higgs bosons were found in the debris of some 2000 trillion collisions of larger particles.  Peter Higgs shared yesterday’s Nobel Prize with Francois Englert for having theorized that there must be such a thing back in 1964.  Lisa Randall is Professor of Physics at Harvard and author of Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World.

Lisa Randall, Harvard University (@lirarandall)

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