America’s soldiers may be earning their pay during the government-shutdown showdown, but they aren’t able to buy groceries at military commissaries.
All 175 commissaries in 46 states and the District of Columbia were closed indefinitely on Wednesday, a Defense Commissary Agency spokesman confirmed.
“We are closed until the government shutdown is resolved,” DECA media specialist Kevin Robinson said.
The commissaries are military grocery stores that sell food items to soldiers, retirees, and their families at cost plus a modest surcharge. Patrons save about 30 percent on their food bills compared with commercial groceries; little wonder the commissary benefit is consistently rated the most popular perk of military service in customer surveys.
Sixty-eight commissaries in 12 countries, Puerto Rico, and Guam will remain open, however.
Ironically, many patrons of shuttered domestic commissaries are family members of a “sponsor” serving in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and other hot spots. They’re struggling to make ends meet at home alone, and their grocery bill just surged.
“You can be sure a lot of those House Republicans will start hearing from their military constituents about this,” one locked-out commissary patron fumed.
Many commissaries are located at bases throughout the South in congressional districts represented by many House GOP lawmakers adamantly opposed to funding the government unless Obamacare is defunded or delayed.
Military families plainly saw the crunch coming, however, and prepared for the shutdown as they might have in advance of a hurricane — by blitzing commissaries and cleaning off store shelves.
Total commissary sales for the last day the commissaries were open totaled $30.6 million, more than double the normal daily volume, and the top sales day in 13 years.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."