Over at the Columbia Journalism Review, Steven Brill has a "story he'd like to see." Specifically: What's the deal with "the Hillary alternatives?" You know, those other people who might compete in a Democratic primary in 2016. This is worth some discussion. Among the reasons I can think of that speak to why there isn't block-to-block coverage of other potential Democratic contenders (besides maybe Elizabeth Warren, more on that later) are: 1) it's 2014 at the moment, and maybe people are showing a modicum of restraint, and 2) Hillary Clinton is currently "freezing the field." Which is a way of saying that she looms so large over the landscape as a potential frontrunner for the nomination, despite not actually campaigning, that it's inhibiting other candidates from doing the sorts of things they need to do to carve out a place in the firmament.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has been nominated to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. What's to be said about this? Well, over at the Washington Post, The Fix hooks you up with "The 10 things you need to know about Julian Castro." This must be a misprint, because the article goes on to relate 10 very inessential and/or inconsequential things about Castro. For example, did you know that he has a twin brother? Or that he does not speak Spanish? Here's a hot scoop: Castro could one day be the first Hispanic president of the United States, according to this one guy who said so once, unless of course someone else becomes the first Hispanic president of the United States. The whole "who will be the first Hispanic president of the United States" thing is really sort of up in the air at the moment.
Good news for people who hate lawmakers giving themselves three-day weekends on the regular! According to Politico, should the Republicans win back the Senate in 2014, they "are vowing to reinstate the five-day workweek." It's a supreme sacrifice that would leave the U.S. Senate with the same workweek as many normal human Americans -- at least the ones who haven't been cowed by their employers into giving up their weekends, which is a new thing that some lawmakers want to help facilitate. There are a lot of schools of thought on whether or not lawmakers should spend more time in Washington, D.C. One theory is that if our Congresscritters actually brought their families to Washington and spent the weekends here, they all might spend more time together socially, would develop more cordial relationships, and thus be less inclined to screw each other over and insult one another all the time.
Is the United States a strong nation? There's a notion that it is, of course -- based mainly on the disruptive philosophical underpinnings upon which this country was established. But these are all really the fumes of nostalgia. What else is there? Well, we have the best fleet of aerial drone death-dealers in the world (for now). Certainly our fast-food accomplishments are second to none. And our Reality Teevee Industry remains one of the more successful and innovative welfare programs in the world, lifting individuals with no evident utility to the human race -- and who would quite likely be pushed into ditches to die in lesser nations -- into the warm embrace of the Fame Economy.