Finally, a lifeline: 10 days into the government shutdown and a week from the U.S. defaulting on its debt, both parties in Washington acknowledged that yesterday’s discussions, which ran late into the evening, had been constructive. Obama cautiously welcomed a proposal by Speaker John Boehner to extend the debt limit for another six weeks, and the markets rejoiced with their biggest one-day gain since January. Perhaps President Obama and House Republicans have realized that both sides may find themselves in check soon in this game of political chess. Still, the government horologists have been sent home and the famous Senate clock has stopped. The message is clear: time is just about up.