It’s 24 degrees with light snow in Chicago at the moment, which makes you wonder why they schedule elections in February. It could be a lot worse, of course.

Here are some toastier midday news/views treats:

* Senate parliamentarian reportedly balking at idea of repealing Obamacare via budget reconciliation process.

* Conservative radio gabber and blogger Hugh Hewitt gets spot on panel at second sanctioned GOP presidential debate, in September at the Ronald Reagan Library.

* Legalization of pot in Alaska takes effect today, but it will be a while before the state authorizes retail sales.

* Obama will veto Keystone XL Pipeline bill today without much fanfare.

* IS reported to have abducted 70 Assyrian Christians–whom they call “crusaders”–in eastern Syria.

And in non-political news:

* Dancing With the Stars next celebrity cast to include Patti Labelle, Suzanne Somers, Nastia Liukin, Michael Sam, and several others I’ve never heard of.

As we break for lunch, here’s Nicky Hopkins with Albert Lee and Jimmy Paige covering Buddy Holly’s “Rave On.”

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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.