Here on the Central Coast, we are suddenly awash in tourists who are either day-trippers from inland California or vacationers doing the SF-to-LA rental car circuit. So that means crowded restaurants and limited street parking, but plenty of people-watching opportunities, and a fresh appreciation of where I get to live.

Speaking of fresh appreciations, now’s a good time to look forward to another year of the Washington Monthly with a tax-deductible donation. Just saying.

Here are some midday news/views snacks for your tasting pleasure or chagrin:

* Without a lot of fanfare, Obama signs the budget deal.

* Corporate subsidies aren’t just for Republicans: the New York Times‘ Steven Eder examines Gov. Dan Malloy’s efforts to keep ESPN happy and in Connecticut.

* At Plum Line, our own Ryan Cooper reminds Democrats they are now responsible for whatever happens to the health care system for the next few years, whether or not it has anything to do with Obamacare.

* Supreme Court review of NSA surveillance techniques made inevitable by federal court ruling in NY validating phone sweeps and contradicting earlier DC judicial decision.

* At TNR Jerry Coyne deconstructs Ross Douthat’s take on secularism.

* The indie chimera rises in the unlikely venue of SD, as former GOP Senator Larry Pressler announces nonpartisan bid to return to the upper chamber. Don’t bet the farm on that one.

And in non-political news:

* J.C. Penney heads listicle of famous brands that may disappear in 2014.

As we break for lunch, here’s the Dead’s version of “Stagger Lee,” as performed in Hampton, VA in 1989:

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.