Had to evacuate my hotel room to enable its cleaning, and blogging from a casino, I’m struck again by the atavism of Vegas–the smoke, the sexism, the excess in every direction. But I’m afraid Hunter Thompson nailed it more than four decades ago: this city is the “nerve center of the American dream.” Thank God for irony, which makes it all tolerable, and occasionally quite entertaining.

Here are some remains of the day.

* SCOTUS grants cert in a direct challenge to Texas’ clinic-closing abortion access law. Once again, reproductive rights will be in the shaky hands of Justice Kennedy.

* US officials “reasonably sure” drone strike killed execution film villain “Jihadi John.”

* Ben Carson goes all expert-y on Trump’s description of him as “pathological,” and what that connotes. Bet that response was debated quite a bit in Carson-land.

* At Ten Miles Square, Daniel Luzer argues that there are plenty of reasons far stronger than mendacity for denying Ben Carson the presidency.

* At Republic 3.0, Anne Kim notes that the “housing recovery” is pretty much limited to whiter and wealthier Americans.

And in non-political news:

* After a tumultuous week, including a team boycott of practices and the resignation of the university president, the Missouri Tigers prepare to play a football game tomorrow.

That’s it for Friday. David Atkins and D.R. Tucker will be in for Weekend Blogging tomorrow. We’ll close with John P. Hammond covering Robert Johnson’s “Judgement Day” in 1964, with Robbie Robertson backing him on guitar and Mike Bloomfield on keyboards.


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.