No good reasons. Arizona officials and business leaders are urging the National Park Service to let the state keep the Grand Canyon open, or at least part of it, during the partial government shutdown. Businesses that depend on the park’s year-round tourist traffic have pledged money to pay rangers and attendants, and Gov. Jan Brewer offered state money to help with the effort. But federal officials say it’s just not an option, without really giving a good reason why. One woman who manages lodges near the Grand Canyon lambasted the government for using the nation’s parks as a pawn in a political game. And Arizona officials aren’t the only ones frustrated at the government’s nonsensical insistence on barricading monuments, memorials, and national historic sites normally open to the public without much supervision. When a National Public Radio reporter asked a National Parks official earlier this week about the need to close the Lincoln Memorial, which normally remains open overnight when no staffers are on duty, he claimed someone was always on-site looking out for the statue. Of course, that didn’t prevent a vandal from splashing green paint on the monument late one night in July. Maybe the night watchman was on his lunch break.
Seizing on a sound bite. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican in a hotly contested reelection fight, is probably kicking himself this morning for making off-the-cuff remarks about same-sex marriage during a recent television interview. A reporter asked him about arguments his administration’s lawyers made against gay marriage in court documents filed this summer. They compared homosexual couples to children, who also can’t legally marry. Corbett said a better analogy would be comparing same-sex marriage to unions between brothers and sisters. His Democratic challengers, both of whom are doing well in polls, immediately seized on the comment and posted the clip to YouTube. Of course, Corbett isn’t the first one to draw the analogy, but without more explanation, it’s nothing more than a painful sound bite.
Capitol car chase. Perhaps looking for some relief from budget battle and shutdown stories, the national media has turned accounts of the woman killed yesterday after a police chase near Capitol Hill into a major story. Washington, D.C., police shot Miriam Carey, 34, after she rammed her black Infinity into a barrier near the White House. Despite initial reports to the contrary, Carey did not have a weapon, but she did have her 1-year-old baby in the car with her. The child wasn’t harmed. Carey’s mother told interviewers this morning that her daughter suffered from postpartum depression. Investigators combing through her apartment found medications to treat schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
More Kenyan violence. Kenyan officials are bracing for more violence after an angry mob torched a church in Mombasa following an attack on a popular Muslim cleric. Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Sheikh Ibrahim Amor and three of his associates, killing all four men. Amor was considered a successor to another cleric with ties to Somali militant group al-Shabaab, who was gunned down on the same road last year. Security officials claim Amor was responsible for radicalizing youth.