1. Before the Ted Cruz fauxlibuster began, the Senate actually got some work done, confirming Todd Hughes, who will now be the first openly gay judge confirmed at the U.S. court of appeals level. The White House is trumpeting its successes at bringing diversity to the courts, and rightly so; it’s a real accomplishment and Barack Obama deserves credit for it. Now: let’s have some nominees for the remaining judicial vacancies.

2. Ross Douthat gets to the heart of the matter on the junior Senator from Texas:

The others in that group — Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio — have tried to initiate real policy debates and shift the party’s stance on major issues: Rubio with immigration, Paul (and Lee) with foreign policy and civil liberties, Paul with drug policy and criminal justice, and now Lee with family policy and tax reform. But not Cruz.

3. Why Barack Obama really can’t negotiate on the debt limit. Jonathan Chait makes a strong argument.

4. Republicans, however, are readying a long list of demands. Steve Benen reports.

5. There is some danger here, but my best guess is that it’s more position-taking than it is a negotiating position.

6. Good one from Ezra Klein: “What Republicans don’t understand about the politics of Obamacare.”

7. While Annie Lowery explains the real dangers to the Affordable Care Act.

8. Oh, and don’t expect everyone to sign up for the exchanges on Day One (also known as next Wednesday); even in California, which strongly supports ACA, only expect a trickle at first, as Sarah Kliff reports.

9. Jared Bernstein on the costs of a shutdown (bad) and the costs of a default (even worse).

10. This New York Times infographic about the steps needed to keep the government running is pretty good, and I recommend it. Only flaw: It should include the possibility of a short-term continuing resolution, as little as a day or two, which could pass if they run out of time.

11. Hey, politicians: Be careful with your historical analogies, says Paul Waldman. Good advice.

12. This is big, and very good: The Monkey Cage is coming to the Washington Post tomorrow.

13. And Matt Yglesias has the top five big winners from a government shutdown.