Delta Airlines willing, I’m headed back to California tonight, and returning to my regular blogging schedule and machinery. Wish I could make a similar return to normality in the news.

Here are some midday items from the crazy kitchen:

* Rhode Island Republicans getting a tad defensive about raffling off an AR-15 and other shooting irons at a party fundraiser.

* Reid counters “let’s negotiate” cries from House by offering long-term budget negotiations to follow passage of clean CR. Boehner says nope.

* Andrew Sullivan figures racist denial of Obama’s legitimacy is at bottom the source of unusual conservative efforts to nullify Obamacare and shut down government.

* Latest PPP estimate of Republican subscription to conspiracy theories shows 62% believe Obama administration plotting to confiscate guns, and 42% think Muslims are secretly implementing Shariah Law in U.S.

* TAP’s Abby Rapoport assesses Eric Holder’s “gamble” in testing North Carolina and Texas voting laws in court simultaneously.

And in non-political news:

* Author Tom Clancy dies at 66.

As I take a lunch break, here’s Peter Gabriel again with negotiating advice in “Sledgehammer.”

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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.