Won’t bug you with details, but some positive things are happening here in the critical care unit, in fits and starts.

Here are some midday news and views items for your snacking pleasure:

* The ever-ready Ezra Klein has nine reasons the invocation of the “nuclear option” in the Senate is a really big deal.

* Paul Krugman reminds us that holding down health care costs–a task in which the Affordable Care Act is central–is the only real “entitlement reform” we’re seeing.

* Obama plays it cool in discussions with state insurance regulators, reflecting the administration’s ambivalent feelings about its own “fix” on existing individual insurance policies.

* TNR’s Marc Tracy explains how the New York Times is trying to replace Nate Silver.

* At The Nation, Richard Kim recapitulates the many ways in which insufficient federal power has undermined the Affordable Care Act.

And in non-political news:

* National Book Award winners announced; George Packer wins for non-fiction.

As we break for lunch, here’s Ella Fitzgerald performing her version of the Weill/Brecht composition, “Mack the Knife.”

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.