Lack of real news in Washington makes it feel like the August recess has already begun. But actually, recess, scheduled to begin at the end of this week, could be delayed in House due to different grievances over congressional inactivity. So they may stick around for more nothingness.

Here are some mid-day news/views items that I had to dig well down into the pantry to find:

* AP survey indicates 80% of Americans deal with unemployment, near-poverty or reliance on public assistance at some point in their lives.

* New Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington edge towards comprehensive agenda.

* Obama dismisses employment and gas-price claims by Keystone XL proponents as exaggerated; says he’ll make decision on environmental grounds.

* Bill Halter drops out of Arkansas governor’s race, clearing field for former Rep. Mike Ross.

* TNR’s Jonathan Cohn wonders if Howard Dean’s new hostility to Obamacare rate-setting system associated with his recent ties with Pharma.

And in non-political news:

* Value of diamonds stolen in big Cannes heist raised to $136 million.

Back in a bit. Here’s more space music from Leonard Nimoy:

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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.