Wasted over an hour this morning trying to record a BloggingheadsTV episode with Religion Dispatch‘s Sarah Posner as the guest before Sarah noticed on Twitter than Skype is having global problems. We may or may not try again later today; if we do, you may notice a relatively short blogging hiatus.

Here are some less frustrating midday news/views treats:

* Jamelle Bouie echoes and amplifies what we’ve been saying here at PA about Ben Carson’s extremist ideology.

* At the Prospect, Paul Waldman argues that abortion has now become the dominant issue in Republican politics, despite all the talk to the contrary going into this cycle.

* A rare, and rarefied, win for Rand Paul in a straw poll at the Mackinac (Michigan) Republican Leadership Conference. Took a bar fight with a Rubio staffer, though.

* At Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams rebukes Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins for going all Fox on Muslim kid arrested for bringing clock to school.

* At the Atlantic, Priscilla Alvarez discusses an ancillary million Pope Francis may have in his U.S. visit: reversing the decline of Catholicism among American Latinos.

And in non-political news:

* VW stock crashes after disclosure of cheating on U.S. emissions testing for its diesel vehicles.

As we break for lunch, here’s Leonard Cohen performing “The Partisan” on Austin City Limits in 1988.

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.