I got home this morning on a red-eye, and the name is appropriate after about two hours cumulative sleep. So I’ll do my best today, and better tomorrow.

Here are some midday news/views treats:

* New York Times‘ Smale and Ewing sum up Merkel’s election victory and the challenges she now faces.

* Jason Zelgerle profiles Ted Cruz for GQ as more a peacock than a wacko bird.

* New Marist poll of VA shows McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by five.

* Annie Lowrey calculates and compares the costs of a government shutdown and a debt default.

* At TNR, Kenneth Pollack lays out possible nuclear deal with Iran.

And in non-political news:

* 2013 Emmy surprises, leading with inexplicable Daniels over Cranston.

Back after a lunch/snooze break. Here’s another Chicago 68/69 song from Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys.

YouTube video

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.