Selecting an actual “lunch” here in New Orleans in the middle of a work day is easy if you want a good meal but hard if you fear you’ll regret not making every meal memorable. I’ll try not to let that factor rush me too much in offering you some midday news/views treats:

* Gallup’s new ideological self-identification numbers show gap between liberals and conservatives declining, along with long-time plurality of “moderates.”

* Rachel Maddow & Brother Benen explore an “alternative” theory of Fort Lee scandal, involving judicial nomination fights rather than mayoral endorsements.

* Obama’s “promise zones” initiative sounds like less slapdash version of Clinton-era “empowerment zones,” at least to this cynical veteran of the latter.

* Unlike the State of Utah, the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages performed in the Beehive State during the brief recent judicially mandated window where they were legal.

* Charlie Cook says both major parties seem to have decided on their main message for 2014: for GOPers it’s all about Obamacare, for Democrats it’s income inequality.

And in sorta non-political news:

* Six biggest U.S. banks rang up combined profits of $73 billion in 2013. But mentioning that may represent “class warfare.”

As we break for lunch, here’s Earl King with “Ain’t No City Like New Orleans.”

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.