For the record, I’ve never been a big Cat Stevens fan. But he was a pretty big deal in the 70s, and his personal story is fascinating. So there.

Here are some midday news/views snacks from my temporary perch in humid, rainy Georgia:

* Obama calls on Putin personally to force separatist cooperation with MH17 investigation.

* Rick Perry reported to be on brink of ordering a thousand National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border. But it’s not “militarization” of course.

* Rand Paul spent weekend in Silicon Valley in search of money and other forms of support.

* TNR’s Julia Ioffe explains very different way MH17 disaster being presented on Russian TV.

* President signs non-sexual-orientation-discrimination order binding on federal contractors without broad exemption for religious employers. More about that later.

And in non-political news:

* Much-awaited New Yorker relaunch occurs today.

As we break for lunch, here’s one of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam’s most enduring hits: “Peace Train,” as performed in 1976.

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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.