DAYBREAK DAILY: Of oysters, poachers and shutdowns

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‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – The latest on the government shutdown; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

OF OYSTERS: Don’t poach, simply put, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Virginia’s public oyster season opens today, and authorities will be cracking down on what they call “an epidemic of poaching.” The Virginia Marine Police will look for poachers by air, land and water, officials said Monday. “We mean business. … Oyster poaching in Virginia will stop,” said marine police Chief Rick Lauderman.

“The state has recently toughened penalties for oyster poaching. Among the punishments, a poacher can lose all saltwater fishing privileges. Virginia’s oysters have been making a comeback in recent years. Unfortunately, poaching has also increased.”

SHUTDOWN: And so it begins, per the Washington Post, “The U.S. government began to shut down for the first time in 17 years early Tuesday, after a Congress bitterly divided over President Obama’s signature health-care initiative failed to reach agreement to fund federal agencies.

“Hours before a midnight deadline, the Republican House passed its third proposal in two weeks to fund the government for a matter of weeks. Like the previous plans, the new one sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act, this time by delaying enforcement of the “individual mandate,” a cornerstone of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.”

MEANWHILE: Crazy talk, per the New York Times, “Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, was the first to take to the Senate floor to publicly pose a question gnawing at an increasing number of lawmakers and ordinary citizens alike as the deadline for a government shutdown neared: Has Congress gone completely crazy?

“It’s very hard from a distance to figure out who has lost their minds,” said Ms. McCaskill immediately after the Senate on Monday rejected a Republican plan to not finance the government unless Democrats agreed to delay the new health law. “One party, the other party, all of us, the president.”

AND THIS: Of the markets, per the Wall Street Journal, “. . . Markets that have slipped recently face a test Tuesday, given that a larger deadline for Congress—over the need to raise the nation's borrowing limit—is less than a month away.

“Many federal workers reporting to their agencies Tuesday morning will undertake a half-day of shutdown preparations before more than 800,000 employees in the government's workforce of about 2.9 million are sent home. While essential functions such as law enforcement and air-traffic control will continue, a large number of federal activities, among them Internal Revenue Service audits and surveillance for flu outbreaks, will be suspended.”

MEANWHILE: That was then, per the Los Angeles Times, “The last time the federal government shut down, for three weeks in the winter of 1995-96, the American economy felt a jolt but recovered quickly. Things don't look anywhere near as promising this time around.

“The nation is currently more than four years into an economic expansion with some momentum behind it. That also was the case in 1995. But this time, things are a lot more fragile. Americans continue to suffer from a relatively high unemployment rate of 7.3%, which is about 2 percentage points higher than in December 1995. Back then, job growth was stronger, the economy was starting to benefit from the tech boom, and baby boomers were entering their prime earning years, not preparing for retirement.”

AND THIS: Of the Commonwealth, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Virginia has options, if necessary, to offset the effects of a lasting federal government shutdown on state services and finances, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Monday. His message to fractious Democrats and Republicans in Washington was more caustic:

"Shame on everybody. A pox on both houses for letting this happen," the governor said during a Monday afternoon briefing at the State Capitol.”

MEANWHILE: Of the Affordable Care Act, per The Hill, “The cornerstone of ObamaCare — the new insurance marketplaces at the heart of the debate over a government shutdown — opens for business on Tuesday. The rollout of America’s new healthcare system is a pivotal moment for both President Obama and his Republican critics, and that’s a core reason why it has brought the federal government to a grinding halt.

“Republicans have fought fiercely to delay, defund or partially repeal the healthcare reform law in exchange for funding the rest of the federal government — proposals Obama and Senate Democrats have flatly rejected. Obama on Monday said, “The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Nearly everyone in the 2016 GOP presidential field agrees: A government shutdown is a no-good, very bad thing. Yet with the lights-out moment for federal agencies now under way, the leading Republican White House hopefuls have all but zipped their lips when it comes to calling out the Hill gamesmanship that is poised to shutter agencies across the U.S. government for the first time in nearly two decades.”

MEANWHILE: The takeaway for D.C., per City Paper, “. . . The District's government—and all of the trash collectors and libraries that come with it—will keep operating no matter what. That's due to a new plan hatched last week that, unlike the previous scheme to keep the government open, won't send any local politicians to jail.

“. . . The District will draw the money, at least in the beginning, from its $144 million "rainy day" contingency fund. The money will be more than enough to cover the city's payroll this week, according to Office of the Chief Financial Officer spokesman David Umansky.”

AND THIS: Lovely drive – or not, per the Roanoke Times, “October is one of the busiest months on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Maybe not this year, however. The parkway will remain open in (light of the) federal government shutdown, but all of the sites and attractions along the scenic road will close. The National Park Service had ordered the closing of the road if Congress could not reach a resolution by 12:01 a.m. today to keep the government running. However, park service officials decided Monday to keep the 469-mile parkway open.

“The mother road will be open,” said Steve Stinnett, the parkway’s chief ranger. Nevertheless, all parkway attractions will close. . . Mabry Mill, Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant, the Blue Ridge Music Center, campgrounds and other sites will be closed for business.”

MEANWHILE: No shutdown for this, per the Baltimore Sun, “As of Tuesday, thousands of residents will be able to log onto the state's health care exchange, the Maryland Health Connection, to browse for medical insurance and even buy a policy. The exchange and others like it across the country are considered key to getting the uninsured insured, which in Maryland is estimated to involve as many as 800,000 people.

“The Maryland exchange will feature 45 plans offered by six private carriers. . . It isn't for everyone. Those already covered under Medicare or Medicaid don't need to buy a policy on the exchange. If you get your insurance through your employer — which most people do — that should continue.”

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Of parking, per Gazette.Net, “Prospective restaurant owners in Montgomery County soon may have a less thorny zoning code to contend with that includes much lower parking requirements. New restaurants would only have to build four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet as opposed to 25 spaces, a restriction that may leave some businesses with empty lots and deter new development.”

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Today kicks off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and both we and ABC News are thinking pink. As part of our continuing support for the prevention, screening and treatment of breast cancer, we're going pink on Tuesday. We hope you'll join in supporting the survivors of breast cancer and whose battling it right now. Send us photos of you wearing your best pink to or here on Facebook.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Milo Kofman, Executive Director of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, who will be asked about Obamacare open enrollment.

--Skip Wood