Another technologically nightmarish bout with Skype during the BloggingheadsTV taping, but I think we may have produced something workable, though it involved Paul Glastris dropping out and Paul Waldman dropping into the picture. We’ll see.

Here are some much simpler midday news/views treats:

* Speaking of Paul Waldman, he has a useful piece at the Plum Line detailing the precise views on abortion policy of the GOP presidential candidates.

* White House, McConnell and Boehner said to be close to a two-year budget deal that would rule out a government shutdown and also pave the way to a debt limit increase. I’m sure that will be hailed unanimously by conservatives, right?

* TNR’s Rebecca Leber has a nice summary and refutation of five common GOP delusions on energy and the environment.

* Just in time for a GOP debate on economic and fiscal policy, BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski notes Mike Huckabee has totally flip-flopping since 2011 on Social Security and Medicare.

* Two new polls of Iowa (from Monmouth and Loras) show Ben Carson surging to over 30%.

And in non-political news: Huge earthquake hits Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As we break for lunch, here’s The Roches performing “Big Nuthin’” 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.