Opening Act: [Pause]

For the next two weeks, America’s major political parties will hold completely unsurprising conventions to nominate Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Barack Obama, and that “chains” guy. I’ll be at the GOP’s Tampa confab and the Democrats’ party in Charlotte. So will my colleagues John Dickerson and Sasha Issenberg – whose Victory Lab blog you should bookmark right away. We’ll be keeping up a “Breakfast Table” discussion both weeks, and I’ll link to that here.

Oh – and to prepare for all this and finish some unrelated projects, I’m putting the blog in silent mode today. See you back here and across Slate on Sunday.

Mike Hoyt talks to the reporter who was so besotted by “Akinisms” that he didn’t think to follow up the GOP candidate’s rape musings.

How long does Paul Ryan get away with saying his not-all-that-confusing budget ideas are “a little wonky,” and thus too complicated for mortals?

Manu Raju on Claire McCaskill’s home-made luck.