It’s Friday the 13th, so it’s a good day for the superstitious to avoid breaking mirrors or walking under ladders or getting into the path of black cats. I’m distracting myself with a strange day of blogging in Las Vegas, which does not indicate any wild fun, but on the contrary, the best logistical route for making it to an (extended) family funeral in Georgia tomorrow. Wish me luck on a red-eye flight and then tight connections back home.

Here are some Friday midday news/views treats:

* Ezra Klein rebuts Republican presidential suggestions that the country is currently going to hell in a handbasket.

* At the Plum Line, Greg Sargent suggests the “stupidity” Donald Trump is always railing against is the best explanation for the relative success of his own campaign.

* Rand Paul argues that conspiracy theories about the Fed indeed represent a “sexy issue.” In the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

* Peggy Noonan coins a new term: “outsiderness.” Good work, Peg.

* At the Prospect, Gershom Gorenberg explains how Bibi Netanyahu’s choice for Israeli national public relations director is feeding the Temple Mount crisis.

And in non-political news:

* Big chunk o’ space junk expected to burn up in the atmosphere today above a spot near Sri Lanka.

As we pause for lunch, here’s John P. Hammond with “Drop Down Mama.”

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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.