I’ve probably told this story before, but about a quarter century ago I was asked to define myself ideologically in a job interview, and I responded without thinking about it that I was a “Washington Monthly neo-liberal.” Now the term “neo-liberal” has since become an epithet (as it pretty much always once in Europe, describing market-oriented conservatism there) that has little to do with what I was trying to convey back in 1988, but the point that WaMo was instrumental in helping make U.S. progressivism more forward-looking and not simply a museum guild for the New Deal remains valid. More to the point, WaMo always has been and still is a vibrant arena for intra-progressive debate that hews to no fixed orthodoxy or organized heresy, either. That’s still another good reason for taking the time to make a donation to keep this distinguished publication alive.

While you’re thinking about that, here are some midday news and views side dishes for your enjoyment:

* Obama gives Raul Castro routine handshake greeting at Mandela memorial; conservatives freak.

* TAP’s Abby Rapoport reviews the legal developments on voting rights since the Supreme Court struck down the preclearance mechanism of the Voting Rights Act.

* A year of anticipation of gun legislation culminates in renewal of existing ban on unscreenable weapons. Sad.

* John Podesta reportedly returning to White House staff.

* Mike Konczal explains what to look for in implementation of the Volker Rule against “proprietary trading” by banks.

And in non-political news:

* Another big day of closings in Washington, but bad weather moving on.

As we break for lunch, here’s a recording of Otis performing “These Arms of Mine” at the Whiskey a Go Go.

YouTube video

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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.