On this day 157 years ago, Preston “Bully” Brooks of SC beat MA Sen. Charles Sumner into unconsciousness on Senate floor for insulting southern “honor.” And you thought polarization was bad today.

Here are some mid-day news/views tidbits, none of them about the IRS or Benghazi!. That took some doing.

* Paul Ryan reported to be writing a book. Maybe we’ll finally get to the bottom of his brilliant synthesis of the thinking of Ayn Rand and St. Thomas Aquinas.

* Vanderbilt poll shows near-majority support (49% for, 46% against) for marriage equality in Tennessee. Bet it’s still zero in the state’s GOP congressional delegation.

* Glutton for punishment: Anthony Weiner formally announces mayoral candidacy.

* At TNR, Jonathan Cohn has grim report on how low-wage employers are trying to evade Obamacare.

* At The Nation, Bob Dreyfuss has useful two-part backgrounder on Iranian elections here and here.

And in non-political news:

* In case you missed Twister, HuffPost debunks seven dangerous myths about tornadoes.

Back in under an hour.

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.