* Still no deal on the budget, but Congressional leaders and the White House are looking at ways to temporarily keep government open if they conclude a deal is imminent.
* Chuck Todd reports that aides on both sides say they are close to a deal that would “table” the Planned Parenthood rider.
* But a Democratic aide disputes this, telling me Republicans are “still insisting” on the rider.
* White House advisers are more optimistic about a deal than they were earlier this afternoon, though it’s unclear why.
* Harold Meyerson on why the Dems’ claim that there was a deal on $38 billion in cuts is more plausible than the GOP’s claim that there wasn’t.
* GOP Senator Mark Kirk says Republicans should “give” on the policy riders, suggesting moderate GOPers may be getting skittish about the looming shutdown, particularly if it’s perceived to be about family planning.
* Mike Huckabee and Tom Coburn appear to agree with Kirk, and they are anything but moderate.
* This is key: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that Paul Ryan’s brave deficit cutting plan cuts the deficit far less than advertised, because — natch — of the tax cuts for the rich.
* ICYMI: Jonathan Bernstein asks a very good question about the Ryan proposal.
* And James Fallows has a succinct and hard-hitting piece on why the Ryan proposal isn’t “serious” at all, at least when it comes to controlling Medicare costs.
* Good stuff from Ari Berman on the real reasons Clinton won his shutdown fight, and what Obama could learn from them.
*John Aravosis on why Obama won’t learn those lessons , because, as John suggests provocatively, Obama is a “political pacifist.”
* Union officials call for thousands of ballots in the Wisconsin state supreme court race to be impounded in the wake of the “found votes,” a sign that they’re seizing on this controversy to keep energy stoked for the recalls.
* Birther hucksterism watch: Justin Elliott politely suggests that perhaps media outlets shouldn’t credulously report Donald Trump’s claim that he sent investigators to Hawaii, since there’s zero evidence he ever did any such thing.
* And Harry Reid is set to update us on the budget talks at eight, but I’ve kind of had it, so you all will probably be on your own at that point.
What else is happening?