A rainy day here on the Central Coast of California, but still beautiful. Here are a few mid-day news bites in another slow day for anything other than symbolic gesturing and spin:

* At The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal has a fascinating account of Obama 2012’s tech team, and how it ran circles around Mitt’s.

* FDL’s Jon Walker makes case that federally-run health insurance exchanges in recalcitrant Republican-run states better for all concerned.

* Harkin and Sanders formally call for taking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid off the table in fiscal talks.

* Krugman blasts idea of boosting Medicare eligibility age.

* Democratic Senators join House Dem George Miller in proposing a new national voting minimum-standards law. Crickets from GOPers so far.

And in (maybe) non-political news:

* Another oil platform explosion in the Gulf; two people missing. We are told no oil leakage.

Back after some more holiday travel planning.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.