It’s natural when something like the Washington Monthly‘s 2013 College Guide comes out to just check and see how Alma Mater or your favorite football school did and leave it at that. But you will be rewarded by a deeper look, including the new rankings of that much-ignored element of higher education, community colleges.

Here are some midday news/views items you can use as side dishes to the College Guide:

* Annie Lowrey conducts fresh assessment of Obama’s gender-equity record in high-level appointments, adjudging it as no better than Clinton’s.

* Leslie Gelb lays out Obama’s options on Syria in light of chemical weapons attack and U.N. involvement.

* Tea Folk threaten to start calling Affordable Care Act BoehnerCare if speaker doesn’t cave to “defunding” demands.

* New York Times‘ Kim Severson assesses three primary challengers to Lindsey Graham.

* Foreign Policy documents U.S. role in 1988 Iraqi chemical weapons attack on Iran.

And in non-political news:

* Huge fire near Yosemite only 15% contained.

As I take a brief lunch break, here are The Mountain Goats with “The Old College Try.”

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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.