Weekend Digest: The Shutdown Edition

by Larry Brannan (ltbrannan@aol.com) 2 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

Because of the partial government shutdown, taxpayers who have IRS problems are not able to talk to service workers because they have all been furloughed reports Forbes. In addition so has a federally-funded taxpayer advocacy group.

In addition, at the last minute it (IRS) revised its shutdown plan to furlough National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson and the 44 members of her staff it had previously said it would keep on. The law allows federal departments to keep workers on, even without Congressional appropriations, if they’re necessary to protect against an imminent threat to life or property.

Forbes explains how the lack of phone service at the IRS is affecting some taxpayers including those who had their funds frozen before the partial shutdown. It also has Nina Olson’s take on the furlough of her staff.

Go to this link for the full story.

This Forbes writer says if you do a certain five things early in the morning, you may be super successful.

Rise and shine! Morning time just became your new best friend. Love it or hate it, utilizing the morning hours before work may be the key to a successful and healthy lifestyle. That’s right, early rising is a common trait found in many CEOs, government officials, and other influential people.

So what are those things? For good advice, click here to find out.

In an editorial, the New York Times lauds President Obama’s pick to become the head of the Federal Reserve.

President Obama was wise to nominate Janet Yellen, vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, to be the Fed’s next leader. As a deeply respected economist, she will bring two vital attributes to that role as a steward of the economy.

First, she represents continuity with the Fed’s current low-interest-rate policies to foster employment while controlling inflation. Those policies, which she has helped to create and sustain, have undeniably boosted the flagging economy.

Second, she also represents a break from Mr. Obama’s circle of policy makers whose reputations were marred by their roles before or during the financial crisis.

Go inside the Times editorial to learn more about why the President chose Yellen along with analysis on what her response to economic problems might be.

It’s a specialized online higher education teaching program, and it really is called MOOCs. To be clear, it’s an abbreviation and stands for Massive Online Open Courses.

Harvard Business Review has an intriguing inside look at the rise of MOOCs and the story of one well-respected business professor who was recruited to teach one of the courses.

Apparently I have the right profile for a MOOC professor. I’m young enough to be threatened, good enough to be useful, and tech savvy enough to be interested. (Perhaps also vain enough to be flattered). My fondness for the Internet as a public agorá is surely a sign that I want it to become my open classroom as well.

While I would not be compensated, I’d have the opportunity to reach a broader audience and to be at the front — and on the right side — of the online revolutions in education. I would become a better teacher, help democratize management learning, and secure my own and my school’s place among the survivors and beneficiaries of digital disruption.

Despite all that, find out the reasoning behind his final decision to back away from the MOOC opportunity, at this link.

Some potential 2016 GOP candidates are embracing the shutdown. Others…not so much, says the New York Times as it reports on how Republicans are lining up as they choose which side of the political shutdown battle they are staking for the next election.

Eager to regain favor with conservatives as he considers running for president, Mr. Rubio has fully embraced Mr. Cruz’s effort to block financing for the new health care law, standing with him at news conferences and through procedural maneuvers that led to the shutdown.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is seizing on the moment to distance himself from Republicans in Washington and its dysfunction. The governor, who is up for re-election next month, fires off near daily Twitter posts about his bipartisan achievements in his home state with the anti-Washington hashtag of #DearDC.

The Times takes a look at a number of GOP candidates and their shutdown strategy for future campaign positioning at this link.

That’s the message “the National Governors Association argues in a letter to congressional leadership” reports the Washington Post.

“[A] failure by our national government to secure a solution to the current budget issues undermines our states’ recovery and endangers the U.S. economy,” Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper write in the letter to party leaders in the Senate and the House. Fallin is chairwoman of the NGA and Hickenlooper is vice chair.

To read the entire letter, click on this link.

It’s not gone well. In fact, technical flaws that have crippled Obamacare’s online enrollment system in its opening week have Republican leaders demanding answers.

Top House watchdog Rep. Darrell Issa and others say the troubled reality doesn’t jibe with the rosy predictions administration officials and contractors were making ahead of the Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.gov, the online portal most of the country will use to enroll new Obamacare coverage programs.

Committee Republicans are seeking a briefing with the contractors and staff of the Department of Health and Human Services by next week, and they’re asking HHS to provide a more detailed accounting of what’s gone wrong with the federal enrollment process so far.

POLITICO has the full story at this link.

As Democratic candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor pull ahead in the polls, Virginia voters have taken a shine to one lone GOP candidate with a good chance to win, reports Slate.

No, talk to Virginia Democrats now and they will tell you they’re truly worried only about Mark Obenshain, the GOP candidate for attorney general, an office Republicans have held in the state since 1997. The Quinnipiac poll that shows Cuccinelli sinking further behind Terry McAuliffe shows Obenshain increasing his favorable rating from 12 percent to 18 percent. (Only 9 percent of voters view him negatively.)

So how is Obenshain doing it?  Click on this link to find out.

His name is Tim Tebow, and his dream still is to become an NFL quarterback.

Before his star faded, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that in January 2012 his fame was on par with only a select few.

That month, according to the marketing research firm Repucom, Tebow equaled Michael Jordan and David Beckham as a celebrity endorser. More than three-quarters of the American public knew his name and face, which put him at the level of Joe Namath. Only Oprah Winfrey and Kate Middleton held more influence out of the more than 2,300 celebrities in Repucom’s database. Tebow also ranked in the top 20 for trust, trend-setting, and aspiration — a measure of how much survey takers wanted to be like him.

Now what?  No longer on a team, and still looking for one as a free agent, Slate takes a look at Tebow’s possible future options both on and off the field at this link.

A post for Health First reports on a natural elixir that users claim gives them unusual energy. The writer first learned of it when he lined up next to a competitor for a marathon and learned he was 101 and a daily consumer of the ‘magic combination.’

He was soft-spoken and he was brimming with energy. He told me that he just turned 101 years old and that this would be his 10th marathon.

I was in awe.

I was 45 years old and I had just met someone more than double my age who was about to put his body through more pain and more stress than I could possibly imagine.

What was more incredible was that only 3 days prior he had set 5 new world records (for his age) in different running races ranging from the 400 yard dash to the 10,000 meters.

Here I was, a middle-aged guy trying desperately to keep fit as a way to cope with stress (and my ever expanding waist line while) and this 101 year old guy was running marathons and had energy to burn.

So what is the formula, how can you get it, how do researchers say it works, and what happened when the writer began taking it?  Click here to find out.