Woke up with a nasty cold this morning, and hope I’m not coming down with the bronchitis that is afflicting the Central Coast at present. I’ll pull poor Ryan Cooper into blogging if the coughing and wheezing get out of hand.

Here are some non-contaminated mid-day treats:

* Latest Ryan Budget passes House with zero Democratic defections. As happened last time, ten GOPers defected, with at least four of those attacking Ryan from the Right (including, as you might expect from my last post, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey).

* Greg Sargent reports progressive groups deciding to make “guns, gays and the minimum wage” litmus-test issues for Dems thinking about running for president.

* New York Times‘ Trip Gabriel profiles Dr. Ben Carson, the latest national right-wing heartthrob.

* With her usual sense of restraint, Michele Bachmann says Obamacare will “literally” kill women, children and seniors. Ah, for the saving grace of being without health insurance!

* Very funny (unintentionally, I think) Tevi Troy column suggests GOP bridge pop culture gap by following lead of “hip hop fan” Rubio or Paul Ryan, “who is partial to heavy metal.”

And in non-political news:

* Full-on March Madness has begun today with sixteen tourney games. It’s a good time to live on the West Coast, since the Madness starts at breakfast and finishes up by 9:00 PM or so.

Back after a brief meal break. Since several of you asked yesterday, no, I don’t use squirrel in my Brunswick Stew, but just plenty of pork, chicken, bacon, lima/butter beans, cream corn, tomatoes, BBQ sauce and hot sauce. No leftovers remaining from last night, alas.

Ed Kilgore

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.