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from Tales from the Trail:

Who are you calling non-essential? Revelations of a government shutdown

There's always been a lot of talk about the haves and have-nots.

These days in Washington it's about the essentials and non-essentials. USA/

The two classes of federal workers would be starkly revealed by a government shutdown if Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement on spending by midnight Friday.

Those deemed to be non-essential, an estimated 800,000 federal workers, would be furloughed if the government shuts down as it did 15 years ago.

Here are some comments from "non-essential" workers on CNNMoney.com and the Huffington Post.

So what happens to non-essential employees (or "non-excepted" in government speak)? The White House Office of Management and Budget spells out the no-working rules: no working remotely such as from home, which means no using federal agency  Blackberries, cell phones, computers, and laptops.

from Tales from the Trail:

Candidate Obama touts working class credentials

obama_phillyEvery political candidate has a tale of his hard-working origins -- even sitting presidents with Harvard Law degrees who have made millions by writing best-selling books. And President Barack Obama is no exception, as he showed during a road trip on Wednesday in which he tested out what will likely be themes of his newly launched 2012 re-election campaign.

At a stop at a wind turbine company outside Philadelphia, Obama stood before a giant American flag and pledged to keep fighting for policy priorities like promoting the use of renewable energy. He took off his suit jacket, joked with questioners in the crowd and paced casually on the stage away from the presidential podium.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Playing ball

The White House was clearly relieved to announce that at 6 a.m. GMT NATO took over the ball for running the military operation on Libya. BASEBALL/

Not a minute too soon for members of Congress concerned that the United States could get bogged down in another war. "I sincerely hope that this is not the start of a third elongated conflict," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon said.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Let’s talk

Members of Congress have been complaining all week (while out of town on a weeklong break) that they weren't given enough information when President Barack Obama moved ahead with military action on Libya.

OBAMA-LATINAMERICA/What is the goal in Libya? How will the goal be achieved? Explain, explain, explain! they demanded (while Obama was on a Latin America trip).

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Changing palette

Not so very long ago a no-fly zone over Libya seemed like an option on the outskirts of what the United States was considering in trying to pressure Muammar Gaddafi.

OBAMA/Since last night, apparently a no-fly zone might not be enough, and the United States is now pressing for air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery. What changed?

from Photographers' Blog:

Hockey night in Washington

Hockey and politics? A strange combination.

As a Canadian growing up in a small rural town, street hockey was a big part of my youth. So when the White House announced an event billed as a street hockey game on the South Lawn of the White House as part of first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, a lot of great memories came flooding back. Stoppages in play for oncoming cars and playing under street lights until all hours of the night were a way of life.

We do a lot of remotes at the White House and with a ceremony being held for the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Black Hawks in the shadow of one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, I was trying to come up with an interesting way to capture the event.

from Tales from the Trail:

Boehner confident on getting budget deal, but admits it won’t be easy

House Speaker John Boehner, facing somewhat of a revolt in Republican ranks, says "it is not going to be easy" to craft and win passage of a bipartisan deal to cut spending and fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year.

USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANSBut the top U.S. Republican said he remains confident that it will be done -- somehow, some way.

from Tales from the Trail:

How bad was Intelligence Czar’s Libya “gaffe”?

USA-INTELLIGENCE/The columnist Michael Kinsley once quipped that in Washington a "gaffe" is when a political notable accidentally tells the truth. Intelligence and national security officials are describing the latest controversial statements about Libya by National Intelligence Director James Clapper as that kind of "gaffe."

At a Congressional hearing on Thursday, Clapper said that rebels trying to oust Muammar Gaddafi from power had lost momentum and that the Libyan leader could well survive for some time to come. "We believe that Gaddafi is in this for the long haul...He appears to be hunkering down for the duration."

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Say it ain’t so

The White House says it knows that just telling Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to go, doesn't make it so.

LIBYA-GADDAFI/SONGaddafi "has clearly shown that he doesn't intend to leave just because we said so," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Podium pieces

We learned a thing or two from briefings around town.

-- White House spokesman Jay Carney has a sister, and today is her birthday. He announced it from the podium. "I spoke with her this morning, and we are very close." LIBYA-USA/

-- State Department spokesman Mark Toner is interested in the Georgetown basketball game. "Anybody got the latest score on Georgetown?" he asked, to break up some of the back-and-forth with reporters on questions about Libya.

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