Here are today’s rather depressing lunch links on this, the second day of America held hostage by a fringe of the Republican Party in Washington. Reid Wilson with The Washington Post has the rundown  of how the shutdown is playing on editorial pages across the country and it’s not even close—the hard-right reactionaries are overwhelmingly and deservedly being blamed.
Even the big business allies of the Republicans are siding with President Obama on the shutdown.
And it’s not all about politics. The shutdown is affecting millions of people’s lives across the country and in North Carolina, where services are being denied and hundreds of people are being furloughed from their jobs.
As usual, Steve Benen has one of the best takes, including some links to some of the real-life effects of the absurd extortion attempt by a group of tea party politicians in a post appropriately titled “The consequences of callousness.” 
The problem, of course, is that the GOP’s shutdown is causing real harm to real people, and every tragic consequence is a reminder, not only of the far-right’s party’s callous indifference, but of the importance of government itself.
And speaking of the fringe, if you haven’t already seen it, take a look at what Senator Ted Cruz’s dad told a local county Republican Party event in Colorado recently and if that’s not disturbing enough, check out News & Record editor Jeff Gauger’s blog  where he recounts a voice mail about Obama wanting to be the next Hilter. Lovely.
Gary Pearce has his reliably sensible take on the missing facts from the current debate about the Affordable Care Act in his Obamascare Day 2 post 
Sorry there’s not much cheerful to report, so when all else fails look to music for inspiration or relief or at least a distrction. Today the blues seems to fit.
Here is the legendary Taj Mahal, who is coming to Chapel Hill next month, singing Statesboro Blues a couple of years ago with Allman Brothers. Happy lunching.