Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and

People who hate cooking shouldn't work in restaurant kitchens. Atheists by and large don't become priests.

So why is Washington being held hostage by congressmen and senators who abhor the very idea of government?

Shut it down! they say. Ignore its obligations! Scuttle any progress that's been made! To these government-hating government officials, government is always the problem -- never the solution to anything.

That's the tea party worldview. It has a passionate, niche audience. But why would someone who feels that way choose to work in government? Like doctors who don't believe in medicine, like accountants who adamantly refuse to count, their firmest beliefs put them directly at odds with exactly what government does.

"There will be areas where we can work together," President Barack Obama said at the end of a very high-risk week. "There will be areas where we disagree. But do not threaten to burn the house down simply because you haven't gotten a hundred percent of your way."

That truly is the core of the disconnect here. We've never seen anything like it before.

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As the president spoke, the government was screeching toward an imminent shutdown, the nation's debt was at genuine risk of default and the president's health care reform was still being pummeled by his never-say-die opponents.

You could tell things were growing even more tense as the shutdown deadline approached. Ted Cruz was assembling the circular firing squad. "Far too many Republicans joined Harry Reid in giving the Democrats the ability to fund Obamacare," the Texas Republican said after losing a vote in the Senate.

Yes, the government remains in the hands of government officials who can't stand government.


1. Not-as-Big-as-You-Were-Expecting Mac


2. Egg-whites McMuffin

3. Tofu McNuggets

4. Sixteenth pounder

5. Mini Size Me!

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Was it the power of prayer -- or the power of a well-placed surveillance camera -- that helped police recover a beloved St. Joseph statue stolen from Our Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church in Freeport ? . . . How did Huntington become the texting capital of LI? Why else would the LIE's two new "texting zones" (out of 91 statewide) both be installed in Huntington? . . . Does Rockville Centre police Commissioner Charles Gennario really want to make it harder for local residents (the Park Avenue drinkers, especially) to grab a taxi home? So why the new crackdown on street hails? . . . Bagged leaves or loose leaves? Is that really the one hot issue in the race for Southampton Town highway superintendent between Alex "Bags" Gregor and David "No Bags" Betts? . . . What exactly should the Hauppauge school district do? Refuse to educate children who are homeless? Perhaps 200 concerned parents at Forest Brook Elementary can think of another alternative . . . Can six-hour trial rows around the Orient Point by the Sea Restaurant adequately prep Victor Mooney to oar his way across the Atlantic? He's convinced his fourth bid's a charm . . . When Comptroller Tom DiNapoli calls Nassau and Suffolk counties "fiscally stressed," does he also mean the 2.8 million people who are living here? . . . Will Shelter Island's Fresh Pond have to change its name to Impaired Pond? That's supposed to help real estate values?

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THE NEWS IN SONG: Life in a modern town: "Don't Shut 'Em Down" by Flogging Molly, tinyurl.com/shutem


On Tuesday, six Afghanistan and Iraq vets -- two Army, four Marine -- will be chosen for half-price homes in Islandia, thanks to the Long Island Home Builders Care Development Corp. The land was donated by CA Technologies. The VFW picked the vets. "Veterans Way" is being called "the nation's first affordable-housing complex for veterans." There is absolutely no reason this needs to stop at six.

Email ellis@henican.com

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